August 13, 2008, 6:00 am

Basics of Estate Planning Part 6 – Common Mistakes on a Will

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning
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I know, talking about dying is quite boring. However, I’m not the only blogger who think we should talk about it! Million Dollar Journey, Canadian Capitalist, Thicken my Wallet, Where Does All My Money Go and my self decided to participate in a group project initiated by Four Pillars. You can read their post at the end of this article.

I read an interesting article about common mistake that people do in their will and I thought sharing since having a will is so important. This is also quite an argument for people thinking they would be alright with a handwritten will!

#1 Omit to mention debts VS donation

Parents that give money to one of their children must specify in their will if it was a debt, a donation or an advance on their rights to the estate. In fact, this could create a big mess if the other children didn’t receive anything while you were living. They may claim it was an advance and therefore reduce the estate part of that child.

#2 Omit to mention the responsible of your debt

It surely sounds stupid but when you die, you leave your assets and your liabilities to your estate. If you mention in your will that you give your house to your first child and the rest of the estate to your second one (let say you have a car and investments that equals the net value of the property); then the second child will inherit of the mortgage on the property as well since it was specified “the rest of the estate to my 2nd child”. I can tell you that your second child will surely kick your tomb if it ever happens!

#3 Omit to make links between other legal documents

The content of you will must remain undisclosed to your heir until the moment of your death. Therefore, if you have a bad accident and you become inapt, your curator might sell your ancestral house since you can’t live in it anymore. However, if you wished that the property remains in the family and you mention it in your will, you better make the link with your mandate if you ever become inapt.

#4 Omit to disclose important information

If you have a child with drug or alcohol problem of if he is handicap or ill and you forget to mention his status to your notary/lawyer at the moment of writing your will, this may cause major problem for him once you pass away. Give as much information as possible to the responsible of you will. He is definitely the expert to help you out finding the right solution.

Other good read by other bloggers:

Thicken My Wallet wrote about “Top 5 myths about wills“.

Million Dollar Journey details “Why you need a will and the basics of estate planning“.

Canadian Capitalist came up with “A guide to getting your will done through a lawyer“.

Where Does All My Money Go provides some “Benefits of a professional executor“.

Four Pillars with “My experience in getting a will“.


Other post in this series:

Basics of Estate Planning Part 1

Basics of Estate Planning Part 2

Basics of Estate Planning Part 3

Basics of Estate Planning Part 4

Basics of Estate Planning Part 5

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[…] The Financial Blogger has “6 common mistakes on a will“. […]

[…] The Financial Blogger has “Common mistakes on a will“. […]

It is also important to be very clear with who gets what.

Ex. My mother has decided to leave me all the German Nick Nak’s in the house. Problem is, Neither I nor my sister knows what all that entails. I believe it is limited to her collection of beer steins, but could be more. (My family is a bunch of alcoholics – blood 50% or greater 100 proof – and strangely I am not).

When the time comes, it will be interesting to see how this goes. And just proves that you must be clear.

[…] you need a will and the basics of estate planning” The Financial Blogger wrote: “Common mistakes in a will” Thicken My Wallet wrote: “5 myths about wills” The Canadian Capitalist wrote: […]

[…] Financial Blogger came up with some common estate planning mistakes. Very good post and quite possibly one of the funniest lines I read all week – he talks about a […]

[…] Basics of Estate Planning Part 6 […]

[…] in case of death, a will must be written and not contestable as all assets (including bank accounts) will be frozen until the estate is […]