THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING CAREFUL WHEN DRAFTING A WILL
July 14, 2017
When Bryan, Texas residents and people in the College Station area think about what can go wrong with respect to wills, the usual think of outright will contests in which a family member or other person claims that a will is invalid either because it does not comply with the technical requirements of Texas law or, more substantively, was made by a person who for whatever reason was not legally capable of making a valid will.
What is more often overlooked is that unclear, incomplete or erroneous drafting in the will itself can cause litigation, even if the will itself is perfectly valid. For instance, a will may inadvertently cut out an heir that someone intended to be included or, because of lack of clarity, may not assure a charity or someone else gets the property the deceased person had set aside for him or her.
Ultimately, the responsibility for drafting a clear and complete will lies with the attorney who prepared it. It is advisable, however, for a client to read over the will carefully before signing and make sure it is correct in every detail, even the spelling of people’s names. They should also make sure it makes sense an really expresses their wishes.
There are also some tips circulating about what needs to go in to a will. In summary, the person who is signing the will should make sure it covers all the property he or she wants it to cover, and it is generally a good idea to include even that property which would pass outside of a will, like life insurance or stocks, just in case something goes wrong with the beneficiary designation and the property winds up in the estate.
In addition to providing for all property, the will also needs to name who the heirs are specifically and correctly. Otherwise, a person reading the will might not know who is to receive what property or whether someone was intentionally or accidentally left out.