Writing a will can be a daunting task. After all, you're facing your own mortality and trying to plan for what will happen after you're gone. It's important to get it right. Otherwise, your loved ones could end up fighting over your assets, or even worse, your estate could end up in probate court.
Are you uncertain about writing a will and want to avoid the most common mistakes? Keep reading to learn about the biggest mistakes people make when writing a will.
Being Unaware of State Laws
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing a will is not being aware of legal requirements in their state. Every state has different requirements for a valid will. For example, some states require that witnesses sign the will in front of a notary public, while others don't.
Not Revising a Will
Your will should be reviewed and updated whenever there is a major change in your life. Some changes that warrant an update to your will include getting married, having children, buying a house, or experiencing a major financial change.
Not Typing a Will
You should never write your will by hand. A handwritten will is much more likely to be challenged in court. If there are any questions about what you meant or if any of the words are illegible, the court may throw out your will entirely.
Including Illegal Requests
This can be a tricky one, especially where state and country lines are concerned. Obviously, you cannot demand an illegal act like murder or theft in your will. While these are clearly illegal, some acts are subtly illegal.
For instance, you cannot require that somebody accept or sell items that are illegal to own, like an undomesticated animal they don't have a license to own in your state.
Forgetting About Business Interests
If you own a business, you need to include information about what will happen to your business interests in your will. For example, you may want to appoint a successor or include provisions for the sale of your business. Otherwise, your business could be forced to close or be sold to pay your debts and taxes.
Not Hiring an Estate Attorney
You are not required to hire an estate attorney to write your will, but it is strongly recommended. A will planning attorney can help you navigate the legal requirements for writing a will and can give you peace of mind that your will is valid.