The Pitfalls of DIY Wills: Common Mistakes Individuals Make

Wills are a crucial component for planning ahead for yourself and your family. As a legal document, a will explicitly states what should happen to your worldly assets upon your passing according to your wishes. The risk of not having a will can be potentially disastrous for your family, especially if your affairs are complex.

Common Mistakes Found in DIY Wills

Wills are complex legal documents surrounded by specific rules and laws. If an individual does not understand or know about said laws and creates a will, the document could be found invalid. According to the Co-Operative Legal Service, poorly drafted DIY wills are to blame for a lengthy probate ordeal for 38,000 families a year. Here are some common mistakes found in wills not prepared by a lawyer.

  • They are too simple– Sometimes less is more, but not in the case of wills. Many times individuals often leave everything they own to their spouse, which is fine. However, they fail to state a plan B or even a plan c. What happens if the husband passes away before the wife? Will the assets then be given to your multiple children? If so, how will they be distributed, equally or unequally? There are many possible outcomes in life, and we have no way of knowing which one will occur. A will should reflect a solution for every possible outcome.
  • They are too vague– A will needs to be as clear as possible to avoid confusion. Many individuals like to gift personal assets to others as a memento. You may have decided to leave your diamond earrings to Heather. However, what if there are two Heathers in your family? Which one did you intend to receive the gift? What if you have more than one pair of diamond earrings? Which pair did you want her to have? Sometimes wills are foggy and leave more questions than answers. Avoid this situation by making your will as clear as possible.
  • They are executed wrong– There are many laws that apply to wills that a regular individual would not know of. Failure to comply with these laws could make your will invalid or affect the distribution of your assets. A will must be witnessed by two independent adults at the same time, and neither of them can be your beneficiary. If they are, they cannot receive anything from you. Misspelling names can also present problems, as well as remarrying. Once you have remarried, your previous will is automatically invalid unless otherwise stated.
  • They appoint the wrong people– Careful consideration must be taken into account when planning your will, especially when you choose an executor. A common mistake is to select a friend even though they may not have the amount of financial competence required. Additionally, if they are the same age as yourself, they could pass before you. If your will is not amended to reflect their passing, their executor could become your executor. You also should not appoint someone if they have a conflict of interest in the matter. An estate lawyer should help you plan your will to avoid this mistake.

Wills reflect our wishes and should be created with an appropriate amount of expertise. All the mistakes discussed could be avoided with the assistance of a lawyer. A DIY will may be less costly, but a lawyer will ensure your assets are gifted in the way you wished them to be. Juriscorp is a reliable estate lawyer in Edmonton who can help you create a will and plan for the future.