Most people do not want to set up a will because it forces them to think about the inevitability of their death. However, a will is a very important document. It ensures that your wishes are carried out with respect to your money and your property after you die.
There are a few mistakes to watch out for, however.
1. Forgetting to Make Changes
It is wise to set up a will early on in life, particularly, if you have a lot of assets or if you have children. However, as you age, so much in your life can change. You may get divorced or remarried. You may have grandchildren. You can’t simply tell your family what you want to happen after you die. Instead, your wishes have to be written down in your will and processed by probate solicitors if you want them to be followed. If you do not take the proper legal steps, you cannot be sure who will inherit your money and your property after your death. Therefore, make sure that you update your will periodically over the course of your life. Also, if your executor dies, make sure that you appoint someone new to handle your estate.
2. Not Thinking of the Worst Case Scenario
No one wants to think about their own death. However, it is crucial that you think about every eventuality if you want your will to be meaningful. For example, do you have dependents? It would be unusual for you and your spouse to die at the same time, but it could happen. Therefore, you need to figure out who you would want your children’s guardian to be, and you need to name that person in your will. If you don’t take this step, the courts will have to get involved and they will be the ones that decide who gets to care for your children. Therefore, as you can see, it is very important that you think through what COULD happen and prepare for that in your will.
3. Not Choosing the Right Executor
The person that you name as the executor of your estate plays an important role. They are the one that makes sure that your wishes, the ones that you outlined in your will, are carried out. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose someone responsible for this role. In addition, the person should be honest and should be able to handle stressful situations with dignity and grace.
4. Not Doing Things by the Book
In order for your will to be valid, you have to add your signature and date the document with two witnesses present. Those witnesses have to be older than eighteen years of age. In addition, the two witnesses have to sign the will after you do, while you are still in the room. Finally, your witnesses must not have a vested interest in your will; they cannot be people that stand to benefit from your will and they cannot be married to people that will benefit from your will.
5. Not Making Sure You Own Your Home
Most people think that they will own their house if the person they are living with dies. However, that might not be the case. In some situations, both people have the same rights to the house. If one person died, the other person would get the home. However, in other situations, the two people living in the home have different rights to the property. In that situation, the surviving partner does not automatically get the house. Instead, the person that died would have to indicate in their will who they want to get the house.
If you are concerned about your will, speak to an expert who can help you.