Don’t Fall for These Common Myths About Last Wills

Taking a proactive approach to estate planning by getting your affairs in order while you’re still of sound mind is one of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones. This is assuming, however, that the terms of your last will and testament are actually legally binding.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about last wills, and falling for any one of them could prove disastrous when it comes time to settle your estate. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths, so you don’t inadvertently complicate things when you’re ultimately trying to simplify them:

1. You Should Include Wishes Regarding Your Final Arrangements

If you want to ensure your family abides by your wishes regarding your funeral and burial or cremation, it’s reasonable to assume that you should add them to your will. This is especially true if your wishes are somewhat eccentric or unexpected. Perhaps you want them to play a certain song at the service, for example, that’s not often associated with funerals.

Unfortunately, your will must go through probate, which is a lengthy process that won’t be completed until long after your funeral. Instead, it’s wise to leave a separate letter of instruction in which you relay your preferences, if you have any. While not a legally binding document, this letter can be given to someone trustworthy whom you know will see to it that your wishes are followed when planning the funeral.

2. You Should Include Any Businesses in Your Will

You might assume your will is only comprehensive if it addresses all your assets, including any companies you own. When it comes to business succession planning, though, it’s best to make alternative arrangements.

While you can bequeath business interests in a will, doing so could hinder operations (or even stall them entirely), since the plans won’t go into effect until probate is complete. Assuming you want the business to remain operational, it’s better to create a separate plan that allows for a seamless transition upon your death.

3. You Can Only Modify Your Will in Certain Scenarios

You can modify your will as often as you like. As long as you go about doing so in the correct way and the new terms are legally binding, there’s nothing stopping you from updating the document whenever you want.

In fact, it’s wise to review your estate planning arrangements often. Since your circumstances will inevitably change over time, your wishes may, too. And depending on the circumstances, dying with an outdated will could cause more problems than dying without any will at all.

Call 231-946-0700 to Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney in Michigan

For help writing or updating your last will, turn to Smith & Johnson. Our team is well-versed in virtually all aspects of estate planning, and we’re equipped to assist clients with everything from guardianship to business succession planning. Call 231-946-0700 or fill out the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan.