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The do's and don'ts of writing a last will and testament

July 15, 2019

A last will and testament is intended to describe the final wishes to be implemented after someone in California dies. It can direct executors as to how to distribute inheritance, balance assets and specify guardians of any children.

While there is not really a specific format that is required for someone to write a will, there are certain mistakes that can make things difficult for executors. On the other hand, there are some practices that make things more clear and can ensure that the wishes of the deceased will be properly and completely carried out.

What not to do in a will

One common mistake people make is not including small things, such as sentimental items or personal accounts. Anything that is not listed on the will may be subject to the default inheritance as determined by law.

Another problem with many wills is that the executor is incapable or unfit to settle the estate of the deceased. It is important to specify an executor and backup executor in the will, and to make this choice carefully.

What to do in a will

Life circumstances such as property and relationships can change, so it is important to regularly review and update the original copy. A will should always be pertinent to the writer’s current status in life.

Another good practice is to make a list of everything that needs to be accounted for in order to ensure thoroughness. The state of California provides a helpful template that may be of use.

It is important to remember that the will is never in its final version until the writer has passed away. Following the best practices in writing a will ensures that things can be settled the right way.