Not Making a Will
One of the most obvious common mistakes is simply not making a will. Most people realize that they should have a will, but many keep putting it off until it is too late. Creating a will is an essential part of estate planning, no matter your age or health status.
If something were to happen to you before you created a will, your assets will be distributed according to the governing law at the time and may not be in keeping with your own wishes. A will allows you to control the distribution of your assets and estate with specificity, so you can rest assured that your wishes will be honoured.
Not Updating Your Will
Many people think that once they have drafted a will, they will never need to change it. However, it is actually very likely that you will need to update your will from time to time.
Whenever you hit a major life change or milestone, it is important to consider whether your current will needs to be changed accordingly. For example, when a grandchild is born, you may wish to update your will to include them as a beneficiary. Life events that often warrant a will update include births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.
Choosing the Wrong Executor
Many people appoint executors without having discussions regarding the responsibilities of the role. This can result in people being overwhelmed by or unable to take on the executor role when the time comes. It is essential to fully understand what your executor will need to do, to choose someone who you believe will be fully capable and willing to take these responsibilities on, and to make sure that they know exactly what they are agreeing to. In the event that you do not wish to appoint a family member or friend as executor of your will, you can also choose to appoint a lawyer.
Not Getting Help from a Lawyer
Many people think that they can draft their own wills without the help of a lawyer, but this can be the cause of serious errors that may affect the validity of the will itself. It is ideal to enlist the help of a professional in order to ensure that your will is prepared and updated properly to accurately reflect your wishes. The team at Munro and Crawford has years of experience helping clients prepare their wills. We are always happy to help clients with all aspects of estate planning.