On January 31, 2016

Mistakes to Avoid When Drafting Wills

Mistakes to Avoid When Drafting Wills

Devising a will can be an important first step to take in the estate planning process. When formalizing your wishes in a will, however, avoiding certain mistakes can be integral to ensuring your will is valid and that your wishes are properly documented – so they can be carried out later.

To help you avoid any missteps, below we have highlighted some of the most common and damaging mistakes to avoid when developing wills.

When Devising Wills, Do NOT…

  1. Include certain property or assets that already have beneficiary designations – In other words, wills should only discuss the property or assets that your own solely (as opposed to jointly) and that does not already have beneficiaries designated (via, for instance, “payable-on-death” (POD) or “transfer-on-death” (TOD) designations). This reason that this is a mistake is that any provisions in your will that pertain to such assets (i.e., jointly owned or those with POD/TOD designations) will generally not be valid (as beneficiaries have already been designated).
  2. Forget to sign and/or notarize the will – In Colorado, willmakers (i.e., grantors) must sign their will in front of at least two “uninterested” parties and then have the signed will notarized in order for the will document to be valid or legal. If this step is not taken, the will can be invalidated in Colorado probate, and intestacy laws would, then, generally come into play (to determine how the decedent’s estate is to be distributed among his or heirs).
  3. Assume that probate will be avoided – Colorado probate is essentially the process of validating a will. Assuming that having a will is going to allow your beneficiaries to bypass probate can be a mistake because it can prevent you from moving forward with additional estate planning (that could allow certain assets to bypass probate).
  4. Disregard the importance of an attorney’s oversight – In addition to deciding how to distribute certain assets, there can be a lot of other things to consider when devising wills, such funeral arrangements, future care for minor children, etc. Making the mistake of devising a will without an attorney can increase the chances that you overlook some of these important plans – and that could increase your loved ones stresses (and possibly their liabilities) in the future.
  5. Set it and forget it – Once you have drafted your will, make a plan for regularly reviewing and updating it. The “set it and forget it” mistake can result in outdated estate plans naming inappropriate executors, covering assets that no longer exist, not covering new assets, etc.

Contact a Denver Estate & Will Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced assistance drafting, revising or administering wills in Colorado, you can turn to the Denver estate & will attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To discuss your best estate planning options, contact us today to set up an initial consultation with one of our lawyers. Schedule this meeting by calling us at (303) 741-2400, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Planning