ARTICLE: Common Mistakes: Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

Common Mistakes: Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

Many people have the forethought to plan for the eventual decline or passing and draft wills or create trusts. While estate planning typically helps avoid confusion and discord in the future, mistakes made during the process of executing wills and revocable living trusts can actually cause more problems than they prevent. It is critical, therefore, for anyone considering engaging in estate planning to seek the assistance of a competent attorney. If you are interested in drafting a will or creating a revocable living trust, you should speak to an experienced Corning estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.

Common Mistakes with Regard to Wills

One of the most common mistakes with regard to wills is failing to review them regularly and, if necessary, update them. Many people draft wills when they are relatively young; as such, they may experience numerous significant life changes between the time the will is executed and when they pass away. For example, they may marry or divorce, people they named as beneficiaries may die, or they may want to add or remove certain beneficiaries. It is critical, then, for anyone with a will to consider evaluating whether it needs to be updated.

Another common mistake that can have devastating consequences is improperly executing a will. Under New York law, a will must be in writing and must be signed by the testator and two other individuals. Only people who are 18 or older can execute a will. Mistakes are more likely to arise when people attempt to draft their wills without the assistance of an attorney.

People drafting wills also often fail to make other critical estate planning decisions. For example, they may focus solely on what should happen to their assets after their death and neglect to execute documents dictating how their health or finances should be managed in the event they become unable to make such decisions on their own.

Common Mistakes with Regard to Revocable Living Trusts

As with wills, two of the most common mistakes that arise with regard to revocable living trusts are improper execution and failing to ensure that the trust documents remain current. People often fail to read and ensure that they fully comprehend the terms and implications ore revocable living trusts as well; as such, it is smart for anyone considering creating a revocable living trust to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney rather than attempting to do it alone.

Another mistake that can negate the purpose of a revocable living trust is the failure to fund the trust. Assets that are not placed in a trust may go through the probate process and may not go to the parties the grantor intended. Choosing an unsuitable trustee or successor trustee who will not uphold the grantor’s wishes is a common mistake as well.

Talk to a Seasoned Corning Estate Planning Attorney Today

Engaging in estate planning is smart and practical, but if wills and revocable living trusts are not properly executed or created, it can create significant challenges. If you have questions about wills, revocable trusts, or other estate planning tools, call us today to schedule a meeting at 607- 962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.

Contact Us Today

We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.