As you age, you know you need a will to pass on your assets to your loved ones. But do you know where to begin? Tennessee has laws regarding how to make a proper will, such as how you can write it and who must witness it. Other guidelines help prevent issues from arising in probate or the administration of your estate.
Some of the most common mistakes people make with wills are as follows. Avoid these three to be on your way in establishing solid estate plans.
1. Using DIY forms
In the age of technology, you can find everything online, including do-it-yourself forms for creating a will. While convenient and perhaps easy, they are not as comprehensive as a customized will you draft with the help of an estate planning attorney. DIY wills do not account for your unique situation, so you may miss including things, which can lead to family disputes upon your passing. You may also make mistakes that can invalidate your will during the probate process. It is better to spend the money to benefit from the professional services of a lawyer and save your family from future expenses due to confusion, error or contestation.
2. Thinking a will is enough
A will is the most familiar of estate plans, but it is not the only one, nor can it cover everything. You likely will also need any or all of the following legal documents:
- Advance health care directive
- Powers of attorney (financial and medical)
- Business succession plan
Your attorney can determine if others are necessary for your circumstances.
3. Not updating your will
Once you have written your will, you are only done for now. Every year you should review it and update it as needed. You may have gained or lost assets and beneficiaries. You may no longer need a guardianship for children who are now adults. Your views on end-of-life treatment may have changed. Revising it regularly ensures your wishes are current when you pass on.