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3 common mistakes when drafting a will in Ohio

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Wills

The biggest mistake possible when planning an estate is the choice to continue procrastinating. Many people don’t view that as an active decision. Instead, they simply avoid sitting down to finally draft documents because they view the process as unpleasant.

However unpleasant people may find estate planning, it is crucial for personal protection later in life and the protection of loved ones after losing a family number. Those who do draft wills in Ohio can theoretically make mistakes that reduce how helpful or enforceable their wills actually are when they die. The following are some of the most common mistakes people make when drafting wills in Ohio.

Relying too much on technology

People tend to view modern technology as a solution for every problem. For example, people may turn to technology to help them create estate planning documents quickly. One solution might involve downloading a boilerplate document from the internet. Doing so might be efficient, but it could result in the creation of completely unenforceable documents. Other times, people might make an audio or video recording while assuming that doing so is the same as writing a will. Such mistakes might lead to invalid or unenforceable documents that the courts set aside after someone dies.

Foregoing witnesses or choosing the wrong ones

Another risk when using downloaded documents as part of an estate plan is the possibility that someone might sign a will themselves and then fail to have witnesses sign the document. Ohio law requires two witnesses to authenticate someone’s signature or the validity of an oral will written and signed on someone’s behalf after their health declines. The failure to have witnesses who can testify to the validity of a will could lead to probate litigation in the future. The decision to use a beneficiary as a witness could lead to questions about document validity or might prevent someone from inheriting from the estate.

Including the wrong terms

Estate plans can be very personal documents that include a variety of different unique terms. People can theoretically set almost any terms they want so long as those terms comply with Ohio state law. The average person may not understand the law and could include details in a will that make their documents unenforceable in probate court. Working with a lawyer while drafting a will can help someone avoid common mistakes.

Creating a will is it important estate planning step, but it may not offer much protection if someone doesn’t handle the process appropriately. Those who understand common mistakes made by other testators can avoid issues that could undermine their legacies.