On the road of good intentions, estate planners and holders have made mistakes. Unfortunately, many mistakes can be difficult and expensive to resolve. Therefore, an estate holder or testator needs to be diligent, thorough and methodical to avoid these mistakes.

A testator and the family will benefit from careful and detailed estate planning. To accomplish that, many online sources are available that provide astute and appropriate guidance.  Pennsylvania also offers online resources about wills and estate planning. A testator and an estate planner must have a comprehensive knowledge of the estate plan, and each should serve as a check and balance on the other.

Errors in a will that are difficult to resolve

Estate planning takes some time, work and research. However, it will is worth the investment. You need to avoid costly and time-consuming errors that require litigation in probate court. In addition, you don’t want to squander the resources of the estate.

You should follow this guidance:

  • Beneficiary mistakes: You need to make sure that you name an alternate or contingent beneficiary for insurance policies, IRAs, and other accounts. If there is no legal beneficiary when the estate executes the will, the law may force the estate to liquidate the asset. Then the estate must pay taxes on the asset. In addition, you should always remove an ex-spouse from all accounts. If not corrected, the law may require the estate to pay the ex-family member.
  • Well-intended gifts: The language of the will should not produce negative and unintended consequences. Simple clear directives for distributing property and assets usually produce a favorable outcome. On the other hand, convoluted and overly complex directives can produce problems.
  • Passing of beneficiary: An unforeseen passing of a beneficiary could throw a certain portion of the will into question. You should have an alternate beneficiary in place if a primary beneficiary deceases before the will is executed.

While this is not a comprehensive list, it contains important advice you should follow.

Keep the will current and protect the estate

A testator and estate planner need to make sure the will is complete and current. They should take every opportunity to write, review and update the estate plan, so all possible contingencies and problems have been resolved. When it comes time to execute the will, the process should go smoothly.