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Common Problems with Wills
Common Problems with Wills

Not Naming Someone to Be In Charge

Wills can often be created at emotional or stressful times. This can lead people to forget critical information such as the person who should be put in charge of administering the will. A party could state what they want to happen but forget to say who is going to make sure that occurs. This could end up creating a conflict in probate because different parties may want to be put in charge and it would require the court to resolve.

Not Keeping A Will Current

Wills are powerful documents, . All too often a will may be set up for one point in time but be totally inappropriate as time goes on. For example, relationships with family members may have changed, spouses may have changed, friends may no longer be suited as administrators of the will. It is important to make sure the will is regularly updated so that it will continue to make sense and reflect current wishes rather than PAST wishes.

Forgetting About Children

Your will can be used to name a guardian for your minor children. This would be the person or persons responsible for raising the children and making decisions on their behalf. If this guardianship provision is left out, the court will have no clear direction on who is to be appointed, will follow state law, and that may favor family members or other individuals that you would not have selected yourself.

Do It Yourself Edits

In some cases, people may try to alter their will by crossing out language, writing in new names or making other handwritten notes. This can create serious headaches as it will be left up to the court to interpret the intent, whether the edits were properly witnesses and what the final interpretation is. If a party wishes to make legally binding changes, they should carefully consider how they plan to do so and contact an estate planning lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on.

Not Changing Beneficiaries

People can be confused about how assets with beneficiary designations work with wills. I like to describe to clients that a beneficiary designation is like a mini-will: the designation itself means that for that asset and only that asset, the beneficiaries will be the named parties, regardless of what a persons will might say. If someone wants to make sure the will works for all their assets, they need to make sure they don’t have beneficiary

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into the wills and estate planning practice.

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