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What should you avoid when drafting a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2019 | Probate Litigation |

The idea behind creating a will is to help the court and your beneficiaries carry out your final wishes. However, if a will contains errors, a judge could rule that it is invalid. What are these significant errors and how can you avoid them?

What should you avoid?

Your will can be as unique as your life. However, there are some wills that are better than others because they make it easier on the beneficiaries to carry them out. The following are things to avoid when drafting a will:

  1. Handwritten wills: Although Louisiana recognizes handwritten wills (called “olographic testaments” in Louisiana) that are written, dated and signed by the owner of the estate, they are often vague or outdated.
  2. Out of state will: While you can have a will from another state, it must meet those state’s laws. If you have lived or die in Louisiana, this can complicate your situation. This will require an intricate knowledge of the law.
  3. Out of state property: Your will must satisfy the laws of the state where the property exists.
  4. Including too much: It is just as important to know what should go in a will as what should not. Your will cannot distribute all kinds of property and putting this in your will is inappropriate.
  5. Leaving out important assets: If you recently acquired new vehicles, new property or invested in a business, your will should include flexible language about how to handle these.
  6. Outdated references: If your will is gathering dust in a safety deposit box, it’s time to update it. Some people do this after major life events. Others choose every five or ten years. Regular updates help to ensure that it is ready for use at any moment.
  7. Not having one: Anyone over 18 can have a valid will. Some people choose to write their own wills or find forms online that seem legitimate. However, the best way to guarantee that the will is legally valid is to ask for help from a professional.

Other than typos, misprints or forgetting to include loved ones, your will could contain many errors. If you fail to sign it or have witnesses sign it, for instance, it might not be a legally valid document. This will make it complicated or impossible for your beneficiaries to carry out your wishes.