Whether you’ve already created your will or not, it is important to carefully evaluate the content. Many people make mistakes that conflict with their wishes. Avoid these common mistakes when creating your will to ensure that your final wishes are honored after you pass.
7 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Creating Your Will
Often, individuals gather their end-of-life documents early in life and then forget all about them. Not only is it important to gather the content, but it is also important to analyze it for possible loopholes or inconsistencies. Check your will for the following 8 mistakes.
1. Inconsistencies Between the Will and the Trust
Beneficiaries outside of the will (such as life insurance) usually trump beneficiaries within the will. If you have a beneficiary named within a trust, make sure it matches any beneficiary specifications in the will.
2. Accidentally Leaving People Out
If you were divorced and re-married, your assets may be legally tied to your current spouse, leaving children from the first marriage out of the inheritance. Make sure you check with a lawyer to make sure you legally include everyone you desire to include.
3. Forgetting to Name Beneficiaries on Your IRA
If you fail to name a beneficiary on your IRA, the money will go through probate. When your beneficiary withdraws the money all at once, it incurs a high tax. This tax is unnecessary and avoidable if you include your beneficiaries on your IRA.
4. Not Naming Plan B Beneficiaries
For a variety of reasons, your first choice beneficiary may not be in a place to accept your assets. Courts may divide your assets as they see fit if you do not have a second choice. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to have a secondary option in place.
5. Failing to Update
Many people think that once they draft and sign their will, they’re covered for the rest of their life. Actually, you should update your will after every major life event, as well as lay eyes on it periodically to make sure you haven’t changed your mind about anything. Examples of major events include marriages, divorces, the births of any children, major job changes, and significant financial changes.
6. Missing the Details
Remember, your will does not cover everything. Make sure you include information about separate details, such as your life insurance policy, retirement plans, etc.
7. Assuming Everything is in Order
Although your will has been drafted, it is not wise to assume everything is settled. To ensure that your will is consistent and legally binding, we suggest you look over it with a lawyer. Again, check it periodically to see if you should update it.
8. Not Registering with a Nationally Recognized Will Registry
While there are private Will Registries out there, there is only one that is Nationally Recognized by the American Bar Association, www.theUSwillregistry.org. Attorneys and the public will this source for registering a will and searching for deceased persons missing will. Registration allows you to keep the whereabouts and content of your will private and secure until needed. Registration details are not released until a death certificate is provided and the person searching for your Last Will is listed on your registration.
Additional Tips for Registering Your Will
Now that we have discussed the things you should not do when writing your will, allow us to mention a few things you should do when registering your will.
- Communicate with your lawyer often.
- Take care of your end-of-life documents before it feels necessary.
- Store the location of the will online.
How Can the U.S. Will Registry Help?
The U.S. Will Registry was founded in 1997 to fill an important gap. Too often people think loved ones will remember who you told them your attorney is, or where you stored your will in your home. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Studies show that 67% of wills are never found when needed. Seniors often move to new facilities, re-write their will (With a new attorney), and move their paperwork. That is why it is essential to register the location of your will in an online registry.
The location of your registered will or other end-of-life documents is stored in a database for later access. The U.S. Will Registry provides families and beneficiaries with a means to find lost wills and estate planning documents of those who have passed away. You can register the location of your Will or other documents for a nominal lifetime fee, making it easier for family members to handle your affairs.