Making a will is something virtually everyone needs to do. If you have any family or any property, you need a will. You can use the will to dictate what is going to happen to your children and your property after your death, as well as to provide instructions for your funeral. Your will is an opportunity to control your legacy and make sure the causes you care about and the people you love are provided for with your assets after you are gone.
Unfortunately, while many people know they need a will, it is common for mistakes to be made during the process of creating a last will and testament. You don’t want to make any errors which could adversely affect you, your heirs, or your assets.
You owe it to yourself and those you love to get the right legal advice to create a legally valid will that provides the protections you and your family need. Call Parman & Easterday today to find out more about how we can help with making a will.
Common Mistakes When Making a Will
When making a will, the specific provisions of your will and the things you need to include will vary depending upon your personal situation. However, one thing that everyone who creates a will must do is to avoid common mistakes which could make the will invalid or which could adversely affect your property and assets. Some of the common mistakes you need to ensure you avoid include:
- Failing to follow legal requirements for making a valid will. Oklahoma Statutes title 84- Wills and Succession provides detailed information on making a will. In general, wills need to be in writing and you need to make sure there are witnesses who observe you signing or directing an agent to sign the will for you. The will also has to be created when you are of sound mind. If you fail to follow any protocols associated with making a will, it is possible the document you believed to be a will is not going to be enforceable.
- Not including a remainder or residuary clause. While you likely will try to be careful and provide instructions for who inherits all of your property and assets, it is possible things will get forgotten or end up not included in the will. A remainder or residuary clause allows you to dictate what will happen to property you didn’t specifically choose someone to inherit.
- Not considering the needs of beneficiaries. As you make a plan to leave money or property to your relatives, you need to make sure the gift you give has a positive impact. In some cases, just leaving someone a lot of cash or other valuable items could actually be detrimental. For example, if you have a relative with special needs and you leave him money, this windfall could count as an asset which disqualifies him or her from continuing to receive Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income or other means-tested benefits which he or she may be depending upon. You need to think about whether you can just leave money in a will or whether your heirs would benefit more from other methods of transferring assets such as trusts.
- Not considering the impact of estate taxes. If your estate is worth in excess of $5.45 million (as of 2016), this can trigger federal estate taxes. The value of an inheritance could be significantly reduced if estate taxes must be paid. There may be options for tax avoidance with careful estate planning.
Parman & Easterday can assist you not only in creating a will but also in using other estate planning tools that allow you to get the maximum protection for your loved ones and your assets.
Getting Help With Making a Will from an Oklahoma Estate Planning Lawyer
Making a will is very important so you can ensure your legacy is protected and so you can support the people and causes you believe in after you are gone. You do not want to make errors that make your will invalid, that cost your heirs, or that put your property in jeopardy. Making a will is not something you should try to do yourself, and it is imperative you find an attorney you can trust completely to assist you with the process.
Parman & Easterday has extensive experience helping clients with the creation of their last will and testament. To learn more about the assistance we can offer to clients making a will in Oklahoma City, Overland Park, and surrounding locations, give us a call today at (405) 843-6100, contact us online.