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3 will planning mistakes that can lead to intestate

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2024 | Estate Planning And Probate

Many small mistakes can happen during the will planning process — and that can cause you to die “intestate.” Intestate means that there is no valid will, so assets are managed by the state. The state will name a representative who is responsible for managing the estate without knowing the testator’s last wishes. As a result, assets may go to heirs instead of the people the testator intended to have inherited the estate. 

Here are some estate planning mistakes to avoid:

1. Using an online will template

There are many cheap, pre-made will templates online. These templates can allow people to fill in a few blank spots to quickly establish their last wishes. However, many of these templates are not considered valid. Some online will templates may have grammatical issues that invalidate them during probate and others may not follow state laws. While an online will template can help people decide how they want to plan their estate, these wills are often not as sufficient as wills created with legal help. 

2. Naming only one beneficiary

Testators can name anyone as their beneficiary in their will. A testator could make the mistake of naming only one beneficiary. This could create issues if this beneficiary can not collect an inheritance. If there are no more beneficiaries, assets may go to the next of kin. Having more than one beneficiary in a will can help ensure an estate is distributed according to the testator’s last wishes.

3. Forgetting to validate your will

A will is only valid once it has two witness signatures and a signature from the testator. These witnesses should not gain anything from the estate. Without these signatures, the will could be considered invalid, leaving the estate intestate. 

Are you planning your estate? You can get legal guidance during the process to help avoid issues that could cause intestate. 

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