Chester & Cheshire

Writing a Will: Mistakes to Avoid

As the old saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, this can be the case with people who are ready to contest a will after a loved one or relative has passed away. Does this mean that writing a will should be considered an exercise in futility? No, it definitely isn’t. Whilst the law does allow for a person to voice their concerns over a person’s inheritance, if a will has been made in the correct way, the objection can usually be dismissed with ease. More so, a will considerably reduces the chances of litigation and gives the rightful owners a chance to enjoy their share of the inheritance due to them. 

A will, does indeed, reduce considerable expense, effort and tedious paperwork, not to mention disputes within the family over movable and immovable assets, after a person’s death. Despite the evident benefits of having a will, people do not prepare one either out of reluctance to deal with their own mortality, or presumptions about the painstaking process it entails.

There are in fact various mistakes that can be made whilst writing a will, ranging from technicalities involved in the drafting of the document, listing the details about inheritance or the manner in which the will should be executed or unsound decisions about distributing or disposing of certain assets. Each of these issues can cause significant problems for your heirs. Here are some examples of mistakes you should strive to avoid making with your will. 

Not Having a Will

This is quite honestly the biggest mistake when it comes to estate planning. Nobody quite believes they are going to die or that they need to make a will yet, no matter what their age. However, this is one step that needs to be taken as soon as you hit your 50s, or earlier if you have multiple assets and properties, especially if you anticipate trouble over your inheritance.

Drafting the Will Incorrectly

You are able to draft the will either on your own, through a lawyer, or via any of the online will-makers. The important thing is to get it right. If any of the details are not precise or you get them wrong, the will can be easily contested in court. Make sure that you enter all the essential personal details which include; name, address, place and date; correctly put in the full name, relationship of beneficiaries, mention the assets precisely, have it done in the presence of two witnesses and sign it along with the witnesses and their details. 

Not Being Specific and Detailed

Writing a sparse, vague will is another mistake that can be easily contested and then exploited. Your will needs to be extremely detailed in order to avoid any future confusion and dispute amongst potential heirs. To make your will as precise as possible, ensure that you have listed all your assets, moveable and immovable in great detail.

Not Updating the Will

Don’t assume that your job is done once the will has been made. If there is any alteration in the status of either assets or heirs, you need to draft another will in order to incorporate the changes. There is no limit to the amount of times you can update your will. There can be any number of life stage developments, such as the birth of a child, marriage or divorce which will call for a redistribution of assets. 

Appointing the Wrong Executor

This is a very common mistake to make, as you will likely appoint someone who is in the same age group or someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. To ensure objectivity and avoid any vested interests in the execution, you could choose to have a third-party administrator for your estate. 

If you are looking to make a will, contact solicitors Chester who will be able to help.

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