Common Items That Can Render Your Will Ineffective

A Will is one of the most fundamental devices in Estate Planning and organization of funds, but many may accidentally stumble, rendering this tool ineffective.

One of the most important items to know when reviewing your, or any other Will, is not to write on it. While this sounds obvious, as it would be impossible for an outside party to determine when the marking occurred i.e. before or after death, it is sometimes second nature to want to scribble a note, or mark through a beneficiary, and initial your change. Do not do it, it will cause problems! Certain drafts of Wills do have areas for specific requests of personal items which most times clearly state it is ok to make an adjustment. If in doubt, do not mark on it, just to be safe.

Moving to a new state MAY render your current Will ineffective. State laws vary from region, and while certain areas of the US do seamlessly work in other states, there are instances where the language from one state to another is so different, your prior residence state laws may render your current Will ineffective. If in doubt, seek the advice of an Attorney for a definitive opinion on your specific situation. It is a good policy for anyone moving to a new state to have their Will updated, seamless language or not.

Accounts with beneficiary designations are not generally controlled by your Will, thereby rendering it ineffective for controlling these assets. IRA, Insurance and other similarly beneficiary designated assets are directed by the beneficiary on the specific account. A Will does not override the direction of these self-directed beneficiary assets, however, a Will may be the beneficiary of these assets, giving the Will power to direct. Be certain you understand your beneficiary recipients.

These are just a few items we often see confusion in when discussing Will and other Estate Planning items. We recommend you review your Will, Beneficiary, and Estate Planning items, every 3-5 years, or sooner as necessary as your specific situation may deem. Tax law changes may expedite the need to review your Estate Planning Documents as well.

We are not attorneys and suggest you consult your legal professional prior to making any changes to your current plans.

Have a Good Day!


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