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3 consequences of a poorly planned will

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A will has a profound impact on the stability of someone’s family and their legacy. Decades after someone dies, the inheritance they left for their beneficiaries may still have an effect on the people they loved most. Therefore, it is essential for those with loved ones or significant personal resources to think carefully about the legacy that they leave behind when they pass away.

Despite how important wills are for someone’s peace of mind and the protection of the people they love, a surprising number of testators take shortcuts. Many people will make the mistake of photocopying someone else’s estate plan to edit on their computer or printing boilerplate documents off the internet and only making minor adjustments to the paperwork.

Those that don’t take the time to put together a carefully crafted and customized will may suffer one of the three unfortunate consequences below.

Family conflict

Unclear estate planning paperwork often directly leads to disputes among family members. Those assuming they will inherit from the estate may disagree about the details of your will, which can end up doing real damage to the relationships that family members have with each other after someone dies.

Probate challenges

Even if a will contest comes from a place of honest concern and not greed, the litigation that results will likely consume a large amount of the estate’s resources. Probate litigation can take months to resolve and will cost tens of thousands of dollars in many cases. The funds to cover those expenses usually come directly from the estate and could significantly reduce how much beneficiaries eventually inherit.

The will is invalid

If family members raise valid questions about the validity of an estate plan, the probate courts may toss out the documents. They may either refer to older versions of the will to guide asset distribution or may treat the estate as though someone died intestate without any will on record. In either case, what happens with someone’s property after the courts toss out or invalidate their will won’t reflect their actual wishes when they created their final estate plan.

Those who take the time to discuss estate planning wishes thoroughly and put together careful paperwork that complies with state law will have more control over their legacy and less risk of their death causing financial or social hardship for their loved ones.