Common Missteps to Avoid When Creating Your Will

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Have you made the decision to finally get an estate plan in place? This is a great and important first step to putting legal protections in place that will further and protect your goals for the future. As you set out on your estate planning journey, you will most likely develop a will, an important estate planning tool. In doing so, there are things that you should be aware of, missteps, and pitfalls to avoid. Here, we will discuss several of them.

Common Missteps to Avoid When Creating Your Will

One common misstep to avoid when creating your will is only addressing the distribution and handling of your physical assets. When people think of a will and estate planning, their minds often turn to who they want to leave their house to, their car to, and perhaps some family heirlooms to. With the advance of the digital age, however, there are countless, valuable assets that are digital. Digital assets can have a significant amount of value both monetarily and sentimentally speaking. Do you have cryptocurrency? Do you have pictures stored on your computer? Do you have treasured memories stored in your Facebook and other social media accounts? Make a plan for your digital assets and include it in your will.

Another common misstep to avoid when creating your will is leaving behind surprises. Surprises rarely bode well for family and loved ones who survive you and are grieving you. In fact, surprises tend to breed resentment, animosity and will contest actions. Talk to your loved ones about the plans held in your will. Discuss your choices and explain things as best as you can. Planning ahead and managing expectations can be critical to giving you and your loved one’s peace of mind now and in the future.

Creating a will and never returning to update it is another common misstep. Wills reflect our lives and goals. As our lives evolve, so should wills. There may have been big changes in your family structure. There may have been births, death, marriages, and divorces. These are all things that could merit updating your will. Wills are not things to set and forget.

Another common misstep is to make the assumption that your estate’s worth is low enough that estate taxes will not be a concern. This can be an expensive mistake to make. Talk to your attorney about whether or not you should take tax planning measures in your estate plans. Certain assets and holdings may be removed from the estate tax calculation with proper planning.

You should also be sure to appoint a person a personal representative of your estate as well as an alternate should your first choice be unable to serve for one reason or another. The personal representative serves an important role of great responsibility.

Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

The biggest misstep of all, however, may be not having an estate plan in place. Make sure you do and do it right. Unique Estate Law is here to help. Contact us today.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.