Almost every day there is a new Hollywood lawsuit over a multi-million dollar estate. It’s easy to assume that Hollywood celebrities simply haven’t taken the time to carefully plan for the future of their estate, but the truth is, many people make mistakes with their wills, and a mistake in a will has great potential to cause problems down the road. What should you avoid in your will?

Not legally sound. It’s important to hire a lawyer to help you with your will. It’s easy to overlook or misunderstand estate law, and doing so can result in a will that is not legally valid. If your will is declared invalid, that makes it difficult for your wishes to be carried out properly.

Choosing the wrong executor. The role of executor is a complex and highly important function. An executor must ensure that the property is kept safe, pay creditors’ claims, file tax returns, distribute assets to beneficiaries, and take responsibility for filing the final accounting with the court. It’s not a good idea to choose an executor simply because he or she is a close friend or family member. An estate planning attorney can help you with this decision.

Not planning for taxes. There are various ways of minimizing the pain of taxes for your beneficiaries. Exemption trusts, life insurance trusts, and making gifts are all tax strategizing techniques that you should consider. Your lawyer can advise you on what best suits the needs of your estate – but bottom line, don’t let the government take any more of your hard-earned wealth than you absolutely must.

Not including everything. Even seemingly insignificant assets can become bones of contention. Think through every detail and have a plan for every asset, and you’ll be able to minimize confusion and disagreement down the road.

Not keeping your will updated. Life is constantly changing, and you may have gotten divorced, remarried, and had kids since you wrote your will. It can be a real disaster for your family if your will is outdated. It’s important to update your will after major life changes in particular.

Questions about estate planning? Need assistance with this process? We can help – contact us today for more information!