Law Articles

Essentials of Making a Will – A Complete Guide and Common Mistakes

By January 31, 2024 No Comments

At Waldron Law Offices, Ltd. in Wayzata, MN, we understand the importance of drafting a will. It’s more than just a legal document; it’s a way to ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are cared for after you’re gone. Creating a will can seem complicated, but we can be there to guide you through every step.

When you draft a will, you make things easier on the people you love. Instead of scrambling to settle your estate, your family can mourn you in peace without worrying about all the legal issues. It’s a plan you make that ensures your family is cared for even if you are no longer around. And you can take further steps to ensure they don’t have to wait for probate court to receive the support they need.

This article will go over the basics of creating a will, including common pitfalls to avoid. However, for personalized advice tailored to your exact needs, call our Wayzata office today.

Understanding the Basics of a Will

A will is a legal document that details how you want your assets distributed after your death. It’s a set of instructions you leave behind for what happens to your house, car, and money. You can distribute these things however you wish so your family remains supported if you die or you become medically incapacitated in some way.

If you have kids under 18, you can put instructions for their care. You can name the people you trust to raise them, give specific orders about how they should be raised, and even leave them money in a trust that collects interest until they are old enough to use it. Trusts are a bit different than wills, but we’ll talk more about them too.

If you don’t cover these issues in your will, the court will decide who takes care of your kids and what happens to your property. They will attempt to do this with care, but they may make decisions that you wouldn’t have. Therefore, the first common mistake to avoid in creating a will is not creating one at all. There are countless advantages, and they only cost you time, consideration, and legal fees.

The Importance of Precise Language

Using clear and exact words is very important when making a will. If the language is too vague or the instructions aren’t clear, it can cause arguments and misunderstandings among the people you leave behind. It’s important to be very specific about who should receive your belongings and under what circumstances. This helps ensure your wishes are followed as you intended.

If you have difficulty deciding on these important issues, our staff at Waldron Law Offices can help. We can show you the common ways people distribute assets to their loved ones while still focusing on your family’s unique needs.

Choosing the Right Executor

An executor of a will is someone you designate to carry out the instructions in your will. This role requires honesty, organizational skills, and a bit of legal and financial knowledge. It can be someone you trust personally, like a friend or family member, or it can be someone you trust professionally, like a family lawyer or estate planning attorney. This is the second common mistake to avoid. Remember to choose an executor that you will always be able to trust.

When our staff is selected for this job, we take countless notes and carefully listen to your wishes. Since we’re outside your family, we aren’t swayed or intimidated by unruly family members. We distribute everything exactly as you wish when the time comes, but more importantly, we help you make the right decisions now.

Updating Your Will After Big Life Changes

It’s important to update your will when big changes happen in your life. Getting married, getting divorced, having children, or receiving an inheritance can all change what you might want to happen after you’re gone. By looking over your will regularly and making changes when needed, you can make sure it always matches what you want and fits your current situation. That’s the third common mistake to avoid. Sometimes, new family members are left out of your will simply because you didn’t remember to update it.

Other Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Putting Off Drafting a Will: Many people think wills are only for older people, but life is full of surprises, and it’s wise to be ready at any age. Young parents usually draft a will immediately after their first child is born because it makes them consider their future and the future of their family.
  • Overlooking Digital Assets: Today, we all have a digital life. Things like your social media, online bank accounts, and even digital currency should be included in your will. This makes sure they’re taken care of just like your physical belongings. You can keep passwords and accounts safe until the information is needed, and you can leave the information to whoever you choose.
  • Not Considering the Taxes: When you leave things to people, the taxes on them can be harsh. If you don’t plan for it, your loved ones could face hefty tax bills. Some people avoid putting the tax burden on their families by taking out life insurance policies to cover funeral costs and taxes. Other people use trusts, in addition to their wills, to avoid distribution fees altogether. Considering the tax implications is just one way you can make the process smoother for your family.

Keep Your Family Protected with Waldron Law Offices, Ltd.

Remember, creating a will is not just for your peace of mind. It’s also for the well-being of your loved ones. It’s the most important part of planning for their future.

If you’re ready to start the process of drafting your will or you still have questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Waldron Law Offices, Ltd.

Call us today at (952) 471-0940. We are here to help you every step of the way so your final wishes are honored and your loved ones are protected.

site by LegalRev