5 Most Common Mistakes When Writing A Will

​What is a will ?

In the event of premature death, a will is "THE PLAN" to help you distribute the assets to the loved ones.

Beyond that, it is the method for you to leave extra instructions behinds and appoint a guardian if you have young children.

You can write a will yourself actually. There are FREE will writing services and software's these days to help you.

But there is risk if it is incorrectly prepared. That is where will writing knowledge is necessary.

I've written wills for clients and I've seen quite a number of mistakes made.

These are the top 5 that you must avoid!

​1. Omitting the "Executor" when you write a will

I'd a client who got too engrossed in drafting his fool-proof plan.

In the end, I had to remind him on his choice of the Executor (Male) or Executrix (female).

This person you appoint needs to have the 2 C's.

Close to you (if you have a spouse, then 1st choice can be your spouse) and Competent.

To get your will into motion when you are not around, the Executor (Male) or Executrix (female) has to START the distribution process!

If not, nothing gets moving! Remember, Newton first law of motion? 

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. He/she has to overcome the loss of loved ones and put in a lot of his/her PERSONAL TIME to handle the matters of the deceased. Do not omit your executor and choose your executor wisely!

​2. No “catch all” clause

This is also known as the Residual clause.

Your Will cannot speak more than what you have put in writing on that piece of white paper.

For Wills that do not have the “catch all” clause, the non-specified assets will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act.

No room for negotiation. Ouch!

​3. No consideration of who needs it MORE

I observe a trend in distributing assets to child.

Most of the time, they are written as equal distribution among their children.

I asked clients, “Why would you think this distribution is appropriate?” The common reply is, “To be fair”.

It is good that you love your children equally but giving equally to children may not always be "fair". 

It depends on who has a greater requirement for it.

Between a disabled and a healthy child or an elderly parent and a working spouse, consider carefully who your real dependents are.

​4. Not future proofing your Will

When you do something, do you have a backup plan?

Do you have any contingencies, or plan B? After all, this will be the last wishes that you can give to your loved ones.

If your plan is to have your spouse or your sibling be the main executor, it is important to have a clause for a back-up executor.

What about a back-up guardian in case your spouse passes on together with you in an accident?

In a properly structured Will, there are contingency clauses structured in.

That's the value you get with professional Will writing.

​5. Not updating the Will details

What can be more frustrating than a Will that is totally out of sync with your intention?

You can reduce the risk of an outdated Will by updating it every few years. According to what I have observed, a Will should be refreshed every 5-10 years.

Don’t save a few dollars and put it off. 

Keep it current.

Last updated on March 25th, 2019 at 02:14 pm

The Financial Advocate

I am always fascinated in how parents approach financial issues in their daily lives. There is an overwhelming amount of information available and through this blog, I hope I can shed some light on financial matters concerning parents!

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