Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Common Will Mistakes


While an effectively crafted will can provide peace of mind, a poorly executed will can have disastrous consequences.  Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Unclear Wording.  Vague language can result in family strife and court intervention.  Be especially careful when using do-it-yourself templates to write a will. 
  • No Updates.  Major changes in your life may call for major changes in your will.  Review your will after a marriage, divorce, birth, death, major change in income, or change in estate tax laws.  Be sure to also review related documents, such as beneficiary designations.  And be sure to destroy copies of old versions of your will. 
  • Lost Wills.  Probating a photocopy of a will is very hard to do, because the court must be convinced the original is missing due to some inadvertence and not because the deceased revoked the will by destroying it.  Be sure to keep your original will in a secure place and let your family know where it is.

See Sonya Stinson, Wills Gone Wrong: Mistakes That Can Thwart Your Last Wishes, Forbes, Feb. 20, 2014.


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