When you start writing your will in Washington, D.C., it’s important not to make any assumptions. Even if your friends and family know what you want, it’s not legally binding unless you include it in your will. Mistakes may mean that the asset distribution might not go according to plan.
What are some common estate planning mistakes?
If you’ve promised your assets to certain family members, make sure you include these assets in the estate planning process. Many people make the mistake of leaving out assets because they assume that their executor will take care of it. When in doubt, your estate planning attorney might suggest putting it in writing. Otherwise, the state decides how to distribute these assets.
Other people make the mistake of choosing an executor based on their personal relationship, not whether the executor could actually handle the task. You might have friends with this person for years, but if they don’t take their job seriously, they might create a legal disaster for your family members. For example, they might give out the assets without realizing that your estate has to pay taxes first, forcing your family members to deal with the taxes instead.
Even if you’ve written a will, not updating it could cause a huge issue for your family members. An outdated will might leave assets to deceased relatives or people that you no longer talk to. Your will might also not account for new assets, even major assets like vehicles and properties.
How can you avoid making these mistakes?
An attorney could help you draft a new will or review your current will. With an attorney on your side, you could choose the right executor, update your will periodically and make sure that you don’t leave any assets out of your estate plans.