Wills are intended to communicate a deceased person’s intention on how their assets are dealt with upon their passing. However, an air-tight will is non-existent.
Whether a will was drafted years in advance or a couple of days before a person’s passing, the intentions behind it can still be called into question.
But to minimize the possibility of a contest against your will, try to avoid these mistakes:
Disinheriting Family Members
If you have a problem with your family, you may be tempted to leave them out of your will. However, by doing so, you are putting your estate at risk.
Even if your relationship is strained, it’s still best to leave them with a small amount of property. This will protect your estate from someone attempting to challenge your will and establish a pattern if the relationship improves after your passing.
Otherwise, your family member may express doubt that you truly left them out of your will, especially if they are the only heir.
Providing Insufficient Instructions
If you fail to state your wishes on how to distribute your assets clearly, they may become subject to legal battles. You should divide your assets in a manner that feels right to you.
It may be based on age, health issues, or other preferences. You also need to leave instructions on how to give away certain assets. For example, giving your vehicle away to a family member or your chosen charity.
Leaving Assets to Unfit Heirs
You may not intend to hurt anyone, but by leaving assets to someone who cannot look after them, you may quickly find that your will has been contested.
Someone who is not legally competent or mentally stable might find it challenging to manage their finances and make informed decisions. It can lead to easily preventable issues, such as bankruptcy and squandering.
Including Difficult-to-Execute Provision
Consequences of leaving a will that does not comply with the law include not having it regarded as valid. If a testator had their will created on their deathbed and contains an invalid provision, the entire will may be null.
A legal provision is considered void if it is too vague, difficult to execute, or contradicts other conditions within the will.
Allocating Too Much Property
If you allocate too many properties to someone, your estate will end up holding on to the property, therefore delaying its distribution. It can also put you at risk for bankruptcy.
Be mindful of how much you need to leave for your funeral costs and how much each beneficiary will receive. A contest is less likely to happen if you distribute your assets fairly among your heirs.
Not Having a Witness
While it is not required to have a witness while drafting a will, it is necessary to have one at the time of signing and notarizing your will. This documentation makes it easier to prove that the will is authentic and that everything stated is true.
Not Having an Estate Trustee
An estate trustee is responsible for bringing your will to fruition. They are the only person authorized to make decisions on your behalf.
Failing to name an estate or alternate trustee when your original trustee resigns or passes means no one can defend your will’s intent when the time comes to distribute your assets.
A will can guarantee to carry out your final wishes upon your passing. It can also provide comfort to your loved ones knowing that their future is well taken care of.
However, when you draft a will, you need to be diligent and make sure it is free from potential loopholes and stand up to legal challenges. That is why you should hire an experienced wills and estates lawyer to help you draft a will.
If you are looking for some of the best will and estate planning lawyers in Ottawa, turn to Ontario Wills. Our experienced and knowledgeable legal team can help with wills drafting, estate planning, probate services, and more. Partner with us today, and let us protect your family and assets together!