When creating an estate plan in Colorado, creating a will is usually one of the first things to be done. It’s usually meant to preserve the peace of mind of family members and loved ones, but if not drawn up properly, it can become more hurtful than helpful. There are a few common mistakes that are made when people write their wills. First, the wording may not be clear. If it is not, the will could end up being interpreted incorrectly in probate court. For instance, the document could accidentally disinherit children from a previous marriage or contain vague language about family, which could lead to assets being divided between too many people.
Another common mistake by people dealing with end-of-life decisions is failing to update their wills. Major life changes should always prompt a review of the will and an amendment if needed. This includes divorce, births, adoptions and marriages. One should review other documents that are related to a will as well, such as beneficiaries or payable on death documents. Often people will get married and create a new will, but they will forget to change their life insurance or retirement documents.
Keeping the original will in a safe place that at least one family member knows about is important. Sometimes the will is kept in a safe deposit box, and a will search is conducted. In this case, it is turned over to a county probate court. A will may be one of the most important documents a person can create.
Drafting estate planning documents and creating powers of attorney are also necessary parts of creating a will. A proper estate plan, once put in place, may help to ensure that a person’s assets are turned over to the correct people and in a timely manner.
Source: Forbes, “Wills Gone Wrong: Mistakes That Can Thwart Your Last Wishes“, February 20, 2014
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