56% of Americans realize having a will is important, but that doesn't always translate to action. 1 in 3 have no estate planning documents at all. 60% have taken no action towards getting one.
The average American's net worth is $121,760. You may be among the 33% of Americans who don't think this number gives you enough assets to leave behind, but it's not true.
Another 12% don't know how to get a will. Finding out how to start is one of the best steps you can take for you and your family's future. Read on to learn four important mistakes to avoid when writing a will.
1. Including the Wrong Information
One of the most important will tips you can find is advice about what to include in the document. Not all of your assets need to be part of it; some should be left out entirely.
A simple will determines who receives your assets and guardianship of your children. In addition to money in your checking or savings accounts, you should include three types of property.
Real property includes real estate and land holdings. Intangible property includes stocks, bonds, and businesses. The unproductive property includes cars, furniture, art, and jewelry.
There are other types of property you shouldn't include in your will. Avoid anything that's jointly held with anyone else or held digitally. Avoid final funeral plans, retirement plans, and insurance as well.
2. Not Updating the Will
One of the most common will mistakes to avoid is writing a will and then never touching it again. This keeps it from accounting for life changes such as moves, new businesses, marriages, divorces, or births in the family.
Most professionals recommend revisiting your entire estate plan every 5-7 years.
3. Choosing the Wrong Executors and Beneficiaries
An executor is your most important ally when writing a will. They administer your estate and perform duties such as:
- Hiring attorneys
- Representing the will in probate
- Filing estate taxes
- Distributing assets
The executor can be almost anyone, even a family member or beneficiary, but choosing the right one is essential. You'll also need to take another look at your will if they can no longer perform their duties.
Change the details of your will if you need to change the beneficiaries you've listed. Keep in mind that most states don't allow them to be witnesses during the signing.
4. Trying to Write a Will Yourself
There are plenty of online services you can use to write your will. They're popular because they're cheaper and easier to use. The problem is that using them leads to plenty of mistakes.
The documents that these DIY services provide are too general. They won't help you find out how to write a will that meets state requirements or distributes your assets correctly.
Where to Find Help When Writing a Will
Most Americans realize that writing a will is an important part of estate planning. They also get so overwhelmed by the minute details that they put it off.
There are several common will mistakes to avoid. These include writing in the wrong assets, failing to update the document, choosing the wrong executors and beneficiaries, or attempting to make one yourself.
Monastra & Grater, LLC is here to help with all of your estate law concerns. Schedule a consultation today.