This is the next post in a series of articles discussing the preparation of one’s Last Will and Testament in Hartford, Connecticut. Our previous post focused on the common issues addressed in such documents. Generally speaking, Wills memorialize one’s wishes with respect to key decisions, such as who will serve as Executor, who will act as guardians to minor children, and how and to whom one’s assets will be distributed. Absent a valid Will, such decisions will be left up to Connecticut’s intestacy laws. It is important, therefore, to work with attorneys who have estate planning experience when making a Will. Doing so can help ensure that you have addressed all important issues and that your decisions are enforceable after your death. In this article, we address common mistakes made by Hartford residents when preparing a Will. If you need assistance, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Creating a Last Will and Testament is an important part of the estate planning process. For many, this is the only document expressing their end-of-life wishes. It is imperative, therefore, to create a valid and enforceable document that clearly states your goals and objectives. Unfortunately, many families discover mistakes relating to their loved one’s Will after they have passed away. In the worst cases, Wills may be voided by the probate court. In such instances, state law will determine how an estate is distributed. In other cases, mistakes can lead to unintended asset distribution or disinheritance, contests by potential heirs in probate court, fights among family members, and lasting damage to relationships. Avoiding common mistakes when preparing one’s Will can help ensure that one’s family is not faced with this heartbreaking situation.
Common mistakes include:
- Drafting a Will with ambiguous language that is open to varying interpretations;
- Failing to execute a Will in accordance with the state-mandated formalities, such as not executing the document in front of two disinterested witnesses;
- Making handwritten changes to an existing Will without having the updated language witnessed by two individuals;
- Using witnesses who are potential heirs, therefore inadvertently disinheriting them;
- Preparing a “do-it-yourself” Will that does not address all of the essential issues or is poorly drafted;
- Failing to specifically disinherit a potential heir in one’s Will, which, in some cases, is required by state law; and
- Failing to update an existing Will to account for major life changes or events, such as divorces, births, or deaths.
Our office understands that preparing a Will is a major event in our clients’ lives. Let us help ensure that your Will is validly executed to give you the peace of mind you deserve. Contact our office today to speak with a Hartford lawyer. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.