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5 Common Mistakes Will Drafters Make

May 17, 2022

You decided that you need a will - great! This is a responsible and important thing to do for your loved ones. However, if you decide to put it together yourself, there are a number of big and small mistakes to watch out for. Here are the top five mistakes a non-lawyer can make when drafting a will:

Mistake #5: Too narrow. When people think of a will, they naturally think of death. But death is not the only scenario when a will is needed. Some examples may include a severe mental or physical disability that prevents you from communicating your wishes and aspirations in regards to your assets, or that may require your assets to be used to support your medical care. To avoid this mistake, the drafter must think broadly and comprehensively in order to produce a document that includes a plan for nearly every possible outcome.

Mistake #4: Leaving out beneficiaries. While this may seem like a silly mistake, it's actually quite easy to do. Yes, of course, it is likely that you consider your desired beneficiaries very carefully and methodically when drafting your will. However, a common mistake of excluding beneficiaries generally occurs after a will has been finalized. For instance, when children are born or reconciliation occurs with relatives with whom you quarreled.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to include certain investments. Your house, car, bank accounts, jewelry and antiques – they are all likely to be included. However, investments in intellectual property and "new types" of investments are often overlooked. For example, cryptocurrencies and NFTs are new types of investments and, being non-traditional investments, can be easily left out. But according to Google Trends and many other sources, these investments will likely to become mainstream in the future and may turn out to be very profitable.

Mistake #2: Omitting formalities. It is extremely important to do extensive research if you decide to take on the task of drafting your own will. There are many resources available on the Internet to help you with this, but be aware, like with everything on the Internet, not every source is reliable. In Georgia, some of the basic formalities required for a will to be valid are:

  • It must be in writing;

  • It must be signed by two (2) witnesses who are not beneficiaries; and

  • It must be signed by the person who prepares the will or by someone designated by the person making the will.

Mistake #1: Not finishing it. The biggest and most unfortunate mistake is when one wants to draft their own will but never actually does it. The stories of deceased relative who left some kind of incomplete or incoherent will are simply sad. If you want to make your own will, that is doable, but make sure to do your research, consult an attorney if necessary, and complete the project!

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Celebrate your loved ones. Mother's Day just passed and hopefully every mother felt spoiled by her loved ones that day. But wouldn't it be great to feel celebrated more often? The best way to teach your kids to pamper you (and their dad, grandma, grandpa, or any other relative for that matter) is by example. Celebrate your children and relatives, praise them for big and small deeds, show affection for them, and occasionally indulge them “for no reason.” Happy Every Day to all!