The problem with making mistakes when writing your Wills is that they often don’t come to light until you’ve passed away by which time, it’s often too late.
We have drawn together a list of some of the most common mistakes people make when writing their Wills. Remember though that taking professional advice from me (Sara – SLS Wills and More) means that we’re able to avoid pitfalls help you put a document in place that will stand the test of time.
- Being too vague when detailing who you would like to benefit from your estate or with what you’re gifting. This could mean that the gift fails and that your intended beneficiary doesn’t inherit what you’d like them to. If they have a common name then we can detail their relationship to you to avoid any ambiguity.
- Choosing the wrong people as executors. It’s vital to appoint the right people as they are responsible for the distribution of your estate. Choose people who will have the emotional strength to act, that will outlive you, and that you trust. Speak to me about choosing professional executors if you have questions or doubts.
- Making amendments. You can’t just write on your Will if you would like to makes changes and you can’t just cross out a gift if you don’t want them to inherit. This can have catastrophic effects and can invalidate your Will. If you would like to make changes to your Will, consider a codicil (speak to me) and I’ll help you make the changes. Alternatively, if the changes are major, consider writing a new Will.
- One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people spend money on their estate planning and then give no care to where it’s stored. This is so important to make sure it’s not accidentally lost or destroyed. I offer professional storage so that your executors will always be able to access your Will at the time it’s needed.
- Signing the Will properly is what makes it valid. This is known as the attestation process and there is strict legislation governing the process. I always support my client to make sure it’s signed properly but if it isn’t signed properly then the Will is invalid.
- Remember, marriage revokes a Will. If you’re getting married, write your Wills in contemplation of marriage or write new Wills after you’ve got married. I’m on hand to help. If you’ve got married, congratulations!
- Assuming unmarried partners inherit if you don’t write a Will. Not the case. Dying without a Will is called dying intestate in which a specific set of rules dictate what happens to your estate.
To ensure that you don’t make mistakes when it comes to your estate planning, speak to me and we’ll go through your Will together. As a member of the Society of Will Writers and being on the SWW’s Professional Standards Board, you can be sure that I work to the highest standards (but at affordable prices).