10 Common Mistakes When Drafting a Will

shutterstock_110330690-700x300Wills can be intimidating. Aside from the contemplation of death, trying to craft a legal document that accomplishes everything you want can be a daunting task. Interpreting wills without the help of the person who drafted it is a notoriously tricky practice, so getting it right is essential.

With so many ways to get it wrong, how do you make sure you have a valid will that properly takes care of your estate? Be sure to avoid these common mistakes when you draft your will:

1. Writing It by Hand

Yes, you can write a will by hand, but you probably shouldn’t. While some states recognize handwritten (or “holographic” wills) they may limit what they can bequeath or how they can be revised. You’re better off having a type-written will (perhaps using this sample form) signed by two witnesses if you want to guarantee the will is valid.

2. Not Knowing State Law

State wills laws can vary, and each state has its own particular rules on validity, construction, and interpretation. Just because a will is legal in one state, it may not be in another. Knowing the ins and outs of state statutes on wills is essential if you want to your will to successfully distribute your assets after death.

3. Including Things You Shouldn’t

The natural inclination is to make sure all of your possessions are listed in your will. But there are things you shouldn’t include in your will. Things like your funeral plans, life insurance and retirement plans, jointly held property, and your “digital estate” can and should be left out of your will. (And you should probably avoid any illegal gifts and requests as well.)

4. Not Including Your Business

One thing that should be included in your will is your business, especially if you are a sole proprietor. Whether you plan to keep a business in the family through a trust or you want the company sold upon your death, your business interests should be addressed in your will.

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5. Not Creating a Living Will

Wills don’t only take care of your assets after you die. Your will can also take care of you while you are alive. A living will is a legal document that sets out how you want to be cared for in case of a medical emergency or if you become incapacitated. A living will can cover topics like resuscitation, desired quality of life, and end-of-life treatments, and can also include any treatments you don’t wish to receive. (And if you are considering a living will, you may also want to consider a durable power of attorney as well.)

6. Not Making Revisions

Just because your will is drafted, doesn’t mean it’s done. Life circumstances can change, and you may need to revise your will. Marriage, divorce, children, business acquisitions, and asset sales can all affect the terms of a will, so make sure that any major life changes are met with revisions to what will happen to your estate after death.

7. Leaving Everything In the Will

Just because you want to leave things to your heirs and beneficiaries doesn’t mean you have to do it through a will, and you don’t have to wait until you die. Giving gifts while you’re alive can mean avoid a big tax hit in death. The IRS allows gifts up to $13,000 a year per individual to go untaxed. So not only does the recipient save the tax hit on the gift today, it avoids estate taxes later.

8. Not Understanding the Tax Code

Speaking of estate taxes, they can be some of the most confusing of an already complex set of statutes. Estate tax law is difficult even for the experts, and, like wills laws, estate taxes can vary by state. It may take an expert eye to make sure you’re not burdening your beneficiaries when you’re just trying to bestow a gift.

9. Waiting Too Late

You’re never too young to write a will, as long as you’re over 18 when you draft it. Planning for your death while you’re still in the prime of your life may feel unwarranted or uncomfortable, but dying without a will is worse. If you die intestate, your assets go into probate — a process that can be lengthy and expensive.

10. Writing It Yourself

There’s no law saying you can’t write your own will. But understanding the other laws that apply to wills may necessitate calling in a professional. This simpler your estate and family situation, the easier it will be to draft your own will. But if you want to feel confident that a will can account for a more complex asset situation, you may not want to go the DIY route.

The best way to avoid these mistakes is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before drafting your will.

Understanding personal injury

 

Do you want To Understand Personal Injury

three-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-personal-injury-case-700x300Did you sustain a personal injury? You are not alone. And worse, people need to go to court regarding the injury, which is not easy. Learn how to deal with these legal aspects with the tips here.

Look online to see how a personal injury attorney is rated. Do not simply call the voice speaking the loudest on TV. They do not always represent the best option, and you really should do more research.

If you believe you may have grounds for a personal injury case, see a physician immediately. It’s important that your information be documented as soon as possible. It will be used as valuable evidence later, but by the time you have your day in court, the injuries may have healed and you will have no proof of them.
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Try to find a local personal injury attorney. Just saying, local attorneys might be more accessible to you and that can lead to you being more satisfied with what they do. You also won’t have to make long distance calls, you can have quicker communication, and you can meet with them easier.

While it may sound expensive,looking up a “board certified attorney” is most likely your best bet when you want to having your personal injury case resulting in a favorable outcome for you.. This means hiring someone who has a great deal of these type of cases under his belt along with many checks in the “win” column.

When working with an insurance company, always proceed with caution. You may have to deal with more than one, depending on the details of your case. Insurance companies do not want to give you money. You may wish to consult a lawyer before accepting anything from an insurance agency.

Hire a lawyer located where the court your personal injury trial will be playing out is located. This ensures they can easily get to the court for your dates, plus they know the local laws and understand them to a “T”. They may also be familiar with the judges and their personalities, which can benefit your case.

Look for a lawyer willing to work on a contingency basis. This means that your lawyer will not get paid unless you receive a settlement. Not only will this mean your lawyer has a vested interest in getting you a good settlement, it also means you won’t be left with a large legal fee should your case be dismissed.

You need to have a budget set up before you hire a lawyer. The costs can easily skyrocket if you don’t present your budget to your lawyer before they begin. Try to find someone who will work on a conditional basis so you only have to pay them if they win your case.

If there is no other circumstance to believe that you is a lay down, then many attorneys will take it on. These contracts state that you only pay the lawyer’s fee if they win the case for you. While you’ll end up paying more, this ensures you’re not out if you lose.

Just because your lawyer has a lot of stuff hanging from his walls doesn’t mean that that he is the best candidate to taking on your case. Check out all of his qualifications, including calling past clients if possible, that he offers as referrals. Checking out groups he is supposedly affiliated with, and checking with his alma mater. Check that his law license is still valid, too.

A personal injury can be devastating. People dealing with these types of cases will experience all kinds of legal issues. The pain can be tough to deal with, but your case doesn’t have to be. Keep these tips in mind for your injury case, hopefully you will find the best personal injury attorney suited for your case

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