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Avoid Common Mistakes in Wills

Avoid Common Mistakes in Wills

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Estate planning is important for all Illinois residents to complete, but they should make certain to avoid making certain common mistakes on their wills that can have unintended consequences. Some of the mistakes that are made include not following the rules, not including all of the assets, choosing the wrong executor, failing to update the will and forgetting to name a guardian for minor children. A will attorney may help clients with writing wills that avoid these errors so that their wishes are followed and their families are protected.

Importance of the Rules

Some residents make the mistake of not knowing the rules of Illinois for writing wills, especially if they are trying to write them on their own. If the testators do not follow the laws that are outlined by the state, their wills may be declared to be invalid. This means that the courts will disregard them and distribute the assets as if no wills exist. Under the laws, wills must be signed in front of two witnesses who must also sign them and date them acknowledging that they witnessed the testator signing the document. Illinois also does not recognize holographic wills, which are wills that are written by hand or out of the presence of witnesses. Similarly, Illinois does not recognize oral wills. Other rules apply to the actual provisions contained within wills, so it is important to understand the types of provisions that are not considered to be legally valid.

Forgetting to Include Assets, to Name a Guardian or Naming the Wrong Executor

When testators forget to include some assets in their wills, those assets will pass according to the intestacy laws of the state. This may result in some unintended results. Similarly, failing to name a guardian for any minor children who are left behind may result in the children being placed into the care of someone who the testator didn’t want to have that role. Choosing the right executor is important. Not everyone is appropriate for this role. If the wrong person is chosen, many problems can result.

Failing to Update the Will

Wills should be reviewed periodically as well as any time a major life change has occurred. A will attorney might recommend that testators review wills after new children or new marriages as well as other situations. Failing to update a will when changes happen may result in accidental disinheritances or former spouses receiving assets.

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