Estate planning puts important legal protections in place to secure a future you want for yourself and your family. A will is one of the most widely known types of estate planning documents. When it is properly utilized and drafted, a will can accomplish a variety of things beyond simply distributing your assets to your heirs after you pass away. Be mindful of mistakes that are made all too often when drafting a will to maximize the benefits this estate planning tool can bring to your loved ones after you are gone.
Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Will
Let us be clear about some important facts about wills. For instance, a will does not mean that your estate avoids probate. In fact, wills are designed to go through the probate process. Probate gives legal effect to a will. There are other estate planning tools you may utilize to avoid probate, but a will is not one of them. Take this to heart when establishing your estate plan and drafting your will.
Another mistake to avoid is writing your will to reflect your belief that your loved ones will divide your personal property and assets in an amicable and cooperative way. While this may very well be the case, it is always best to assume that your heirs will not be able to work together in dividing your personal property. It is a dangerous assumption to make. Unfortunately, death can be a divisive event as it is so emotionally charged. Years of lingering feelings can come up in a non-productive way. The situation can quickly become combative. To minimize the risk of chaos raining as your heirs divide your personal property, make a list of your personal property and designate who you wish to receive each item. Be sure that this list is referenced in your estate plan, such as your will, to give it legal effect.
Assumptions in general should be avoided when writing your will. Never assume that a person you designate to take on important responsibilities after you pass away will happily and proficiently take on the role. This includes selecting your personal representative. Carefully consider who you want to be your personal representative and whether this job falls in line with their skill and knowledge base. Before designating them in your will, ask them if they would be willing to take on this responsibility. It is also critically important, if you have minor children, to not only name a guardian for them, but to also take great care in doing so. Reflect on who would be best for this extremely important role. Talk to your preferred potential guardian and make sure it is a responsibility they are willing to take on.
When writing your will, take care to consider your heirs, what you are leaving them, and their ability to manage what you are leaving them. Not everyone is capable at effectively managing money. Avoid making the mistake of assuming that your loved ones can effectively manage their inheritance and take this into account when you are determining how and what to leave to each of them. You have the ability to appoint a professional tasked with supervising assets you leave to your heirs. You may also want to consider establishing a trust to manage assets for your beneficiaries.
Minnesota Trusts and Estates Attorney
Mistakes in drafting a will can have some very unfortunate consequences. Having a poorly drafted will can not only render it ineffective but can also trigger chaos. Having no estate plan at all can do the same. Talk to our team at Unique Estate Law to start the process of establishing a comprehensive, uniquely crafted estate plan you can trust to protect your best interests and that of your loved ones. Contact us today.