Common Mistakes When Making a Will in Charlotte

So, you have decided to create a last will and testament to protect your loved ones after you pass away. You have taken an essential first step to meet your estate planning goals. Now it is time to sit down and create your will. Writing a last will and testament can be intimidating. None of us likes to think about what will happen when we are gone.

Additionally, many Americans who do not have a will are concerned that they do not know how to write them or that creating a will could be too expensive. Working with an estate planning lawyer to create your will is more expensive than writing a will yourself or using an online service. However, when you consult with an attorney, you can rest assured that you will not make one of the following common mistakes.

Not Signing Your Will Properly

In North Carolina, you must sign your will. Additionally, two witnesses who were present when you signed your will and you are not beneficiaries of your estate must sign your will. When you sign your will, you must be 18 or older and of sound mind. North Carolina does recognize holographic wills. In a holographic will, you handwrite your will and sign it yourself. No witnesses are required to sign a holographic will. Holographic wills are more vulnerable to litigation and contests, even though they are legally valid. We recommend working with an attorney who can ensure that your will is properly signed and witnessed.

Not Disposing of All of Your Estate

Another common mistake involves not disposing or giving away all of your property. Many do-it-yourself wills do not include a “residuary provision,” which accounts for any assets that have not been specifically addressed in your will. For example, suppose that you have given all of your real estate, vehicles, and the assets in your bank account to your surviving spouse in your will. However, you have not accounted for your personal property, such as your coin collection. Without a residual provision, your spouse would not receive your collection.

Using Unclear Language

Using precise language is crucial when it comes to creating your will. When the language in the will is ambiguous, it will be more open to legal challenges. For example, what if you have a keepsake that you would like to give to your great-niece. If you have more than one similar item or have relatives with similar names, your family could be upset and unsure who should receive the keepsake without using precise language.

Not Accounting for Property That Passes Outside of the Will

Not all of your property will pass through your will. Many of your assets will pass directly to the person you named as the beneficiary without going through the probate process. For example, most life insurance policies, bank accounts, and pensions pass directly to the person you named as the beneficiary on the forms when you signed up for the accounts. Your will does not control these assets. We recommend consulting with an estate planning attorney who can ensure that your will only covers assets that are in your estate. It is also wise to update your accounts after any significant life changes, such as a divorce, re-marriage, or the birth of a child.

Failing to Anticipate the Beneficiary or Executor’s Death

Many people do not anticipate that the beneficiaries who will inherit their assets may pass away before their death when writing a will. Similarly, the executor may pass away before their death. We recommend naming an alternate beneficiary or an alternate executor if the people you have chosen pass away before you do.

Contact a Charlotte Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Are you ready to create a last will and testament, but you are not sure where to start? If so, we recommend scheduling an initial consultation with the experienced estate planning lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We will carefully review your situation and goals and help you draft a thorough and legally enforceable will. When you work with us, you can rest assured that we will avoid making any of the common mistakes listed above. We will create a detailed, legally valid will and that meets your goals for the distribution of your property. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.