You already know that getting your will together is really important in order to protect your family’s future — but it’s also important not to rush yourself through the process once you’ve begun. If you rush, you’re far too apt to make some serious mistakes.
What can happen if you make a mistake in your will? Well, some mistakes will invalidate your will entirely. Others will cause your wishes to be misinterpreted. Some mistakes may even be very expensive for your heirs — which is also something you probably want to avoid.
Here are the top mistakes you need to watch out for when writing your will:
1. Don’t include your final instructions.
Most of the time, wills don’t get read until after a funeral is over. It’s far wiser to put your plans for your final arrangements in a separate document that you can entrust to your executor or some other person. You also may want to place with these instructions any relevant papers, e.g., insurance policies and pre-paid burial plans.
2. Don’t include assets that transfer automatically.
Some assets automatically transfer to your beneficiaries, like payable-on-death bank accounts, retirement plans and life insurance policies. Don’t include those in your will. They could unnecessarily cause a delay
as your executor tries to sort out what’s already been passed to your heirs.
3. Don’t forget to make sure that your will is properly signed.
Your will needs to be properly witnessed. In Michigan, that means you need two witnesses to your signature. Without those, your will is likely invalid. This could lead to challenges to your estate and defeat the entire purpose of having a will in the first place.
4. Don’t forget to include a second choice for your executor or any named guardians.
If you named a guardian for your minor children, what happens if that person cannot serve? What happens if your executor should die or fall ill shortly after you die? It’s always wise to have a backup plan written into your will.
Writing your will can be easy and convenient if you get the right assistance. Get some practical, experienced advice as you write yours.