A will is one of the most important documents that a person can have, but it is also often neglected. You can protect your wishes and your heirs by keeping your will up to date.
Although several US states and Canadian provinces will accept a handwritten will (a Holograph will), you would be better served if you have your will prepared by an attorney or notary. The cost of having a will professionally prepared is far less than many people imagine.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes that people make when handwriting their own wills:
- Any previous wills aren't automatically revoked.
- Quite often there is no alternate Executor named.
- Frequently a family member or friend is provided for in the will, but there is no consideration for what happens to this property should the author of the will outlive the heir.
- Most people who decide to write their own wills don't make sufficient provision for the person administering their Estates, such as the power to sell and convert assets to cash, etc.
- The language used by a person in making a home-made will is often vague or can be misinterpreted.
- Most people take certain things for granted, such as that their children will outlive them, but this is quite often not the case.
- Favorite non-profit organizations aren't properly identified.
- People may bequest a particular asset to a friend or relative, but no consideration is given to what should happen if that gift does not exist at the time that the will is executed.
- Often a house is left to a spouse, in trust, but there is no mention of who is responsible for paying the expenses for upkeep of the property during the beneficiary's lifetime.
- Perhaps most importantly, don't make the mistake of assuming that simply because you have typewritten your own will that it will be recognized as a valid Holograph will.
A typewritten will must follow the usual formalities of any prepared will, including witnessing and signing as required by the laws in your jurisdiction.
If your will isn't prepared correctly, the assets you have worked hard for all your life may not be handled in the manner that you intended. And of course a lot of confusion may be left behind for your loved ones at a time when they are least able to cope with it.
Article courtesy of News Canada.
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