Your will is among the most important documents you will ever create. Your will determines how the fruit of your labors is passed on to the next generation. Your will plays a crucial role in shaping the legacy that you’ll leave for your spouse, your kids, your grandkids, and your community. Unfortunately, many people don’t give their will the time and thought it requires, and the fallout can be devastating for their loved ones. Today, I’m going to highlight four particularly common mistakes – are you guilty of any of these? Please contact me today to discuss your specific situation!
You’ve divorced, remarried, had kids, and started a new business since you initially wrote your will, but you haven’t gotten around to updating the will yet. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this could spell disaster. If you want to protect your family, make certain you update your will whenever your circumstances change significantly. It’s especially important to keep your will updated if you have minor children. Your will should include financial provisions and guardianship provisions for them.
Keep your will someplace secure, but make sure your family and your attorney knows where it is. If the original isn’t found, things get complicated. If there’s a question about whether you had a will at all, the disposition of your property may be determined by state law. If your lawyer has access only to a copy of the will, there may be a question as to whether you destroyed your copy of the will because you decided to revoke it. Things will be much simpler if your family and your attorney know where your will is.
Changing circumstances may mean that you should change your beneficiaries. Don’t forget to also review your beneficiary designations for life insurance policies and retirement plans at the same time. Beneficiary designations on these accounts should also be reviewed after life-changing events, so it’s convenient to update them when you update your will.
If there’s property that’s not specifically accounted for in your will, you need to have a residuary clause to make sure all your property is distributed to your beneficiaries. Otherwise, property that isn’t mentioned in your will be distributed in accordance with state law, which may not be what you want at all.
You don’t want to leave your legacy and the security of your family up to chance – so don’t take chances with your will. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you ensure that you’ve taken all of the key details into account. Please contact me today to learn more!