If you are creating your first Last Will and Testament, care should be taken to avoid making mistakes given the importance of your Will. To help you avoid common mistakes, a Carmel estate planning attorney at Frank & Kraft discusses five mistakes to avoid when creating your Last Will and Testament.
- Using a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Will form. In today’s electronic age, it is tempting to turn to the internet for everything, including legal forms. It may seem as though you are saving both time and money using a DIY Will form that you find online. You are more likely to cost your loved ones considerably more time and money than you save when it comes time to probate that Will. DIY Wills are notorious for failing to completely distribute an estate, being outdated and lacking state-specific laws, and failing to interact properly with other estate planning documents.
- Choosing the wrong Executor. Testators (the person creating a Will) often fail to take the time to contemplate the best choice for their Executor. Instead, they simply fill in the name of a spouse, adult child, or close friend, as the Executor of their estate without giving any real thought as to whether that person is the best choice or not. Doing this can lead to delays or costly mistakes when it comes to probating the estate. Ideally, you should choose someone who will be able to focus on the practical tasks associated with administering your estate despite their grief and who has some financial and/or legal knowledge that can be used during the probate of your estate.
- Leaving gifts to minor children. Understandably, as a parent you want to provide for your minor children; however, by law, a minor cannot inherit anything from your estate. Therefore, leaving assets to your minor child in your Will serves only to complicate the probate of your estate because a court may then be forced to decide who will guard those assets until your child reaches the age of majority.
- Failing to distribute the entire estate. This mistake is particularly common when going the DIY route. DIY legal forms are notorious for being incomplete and lacking instructions. Specifically, DIY Will forms often fail to completely distribute an entire estate because additional documents are frequently required to do so. The DIY forms, however, fails to mention that additional documents may be needed. The failure to completely distribute the estate results in the need to open up an intestate estate probate which can significantly prolong the probate process and completely defeats the purpose of making a Will in the first place.
- Counting on your Will to accomplish everything. A Will can accomplish many things, including the distribution of your entire estate after you are gone; however, your Will does not help in the event of your incapacity. Your Will also does not help provide guidance on issues related to end of life medical decisions nor is it the best place to mention your funeral and burial wishes.
Contact a Carmel Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about creating your Last Will and Testament, contact the experienced Carmel estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.