Wills and drafting mistakes

Many Georgia residents draft their own wills. However, they should be aware of which mistakes to avoid so that their preferences are honored after they die. One is failing to name all immediate relatives or those who would have cause to contest the contents of a will. Relatives are entitled to know if they have been disinherited, which the court will do when the will has been submitted for probate. The will should include names of living and deceased spouses, parents, children and siblings and should detail who has been disinherited.

Individuals should also avoid bequeathing large sums of money to minors under their own name. The court will be compelled to appoint a guardian to manage the funds until the heir reaches the age of majority and the expenses related to the guardianship will be taken from the estate. To prevent this, the funds can be placed in a trust.

Not only is it important to name the right person as executor, but also the right number of executors. If the single executor named in the will is unable to complete his or her obligations, there will be a long wait for beneficiaries to get their inheritance as the court goes through the process to a designate another executor. Too many people named as executors can result in conflicts and a lack of coordination when it comes to having the deceased's wishes executed.

A will is not necessarily the only component of an estate plan. Lawyers might recommend that their clients appoint trusted individuals as their agents under powers of attorney that would allow certain financial or health care decisions to be made in the event of their incapacity.

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