WILLS: – TOP 10 common mistakes

It can be the little things that lead to difficulties in proving your Will and bring your family into conflict after you are gone to your eternal reward. These include:

  1. Not keeping your Will up to date. You should update your Will as circumstances change. For example, marriage revokes a Will.
  2. Not making adequate provision for dependants. Farmers often leave their wives only a life interest in the farm, but a spouse is entitled to 1/3 of the estate outright as her ‘legal right share’.
  3. Being ambiguous so that nobody knows exactly what property you intended.
  4. Not taking tax into account when making provision for beneficiaries and not using up the tax -free thresholds or availing of reliefs such as Dwelling House or Agricultural relief.
  5. Writing an informal Will as it can cause enormous expense through litigation
  6. Not nominating guardians for minor children, or knowing the difference between the roles of Executors, Trustees, and Guardians.
  7. Bequeathing assets not ‘owned’ by you – assets are often jointly owned, or owned by a trust or company and don’t pass through a deceased’s estate
  8. Assuming joint bank accounts will bypass your estate and go direct to your co-holder of the account where their names were added onto your Accounts.
  9. Not taking into account the ownership of your life insurance (self, spouse) or credit union nominations that will also pass outside the Will.
  10. Using beneficiaries or their spouses as witnesses. A beneficiary cannot then take under a Will s/he or spouse witnessed.