If you have not yet drafted a last will and testament, you certainly are not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey, as many as 60% of Americans report not having a will. As the saying goes, there is no time like the present to address the matter.
When you write your will, you want it to be as comprehensive as possible. You also want the document to be legally enforceable. Here are four reasons that may not be the case.
1. Undue influence
You should be free to dispose of your property as you see fit. If someone else supplants his or her wishes over yours, your relatives may have grounds to contest your will.
2. Lack of capacity
To write a legally enforceable will, you must be in the right frame of mind. If you are a minor, have a mental illness or otherwise lack capacity, your will may be invalid.
While there are exceptions, the last will you write is the one the law typically recognizes. If you have executed a subsequent will, you should not trust any previous versions of the document.
4. Missing legal requirements
Finally, your will must meet certain legal requirements to be enforceable. If your will is not in writing, lacks your signature or does not have witnesses, your planning efforts may not pay off as you expect.
There are clearly many ways to go astray when drafting even a simple will. Ultimately, by ensuring your will is legally valid at the outset, you achieve the peace of mind you want from creating your estate plan.