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Estate planning mistakes could render wills invalid

| Jan 10, 2019 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Most people create a will in efforts to get their affairs in order and possibly to protect certain assets. However, if the proper estate planning steps are not taken to create the document, it is possible that it could be considered invalid. As a result, serious legal issues could come about.

New York residents may be interested in this type of scenario currently affecting a woman in another state. According to reports, the woman and her husband had created a do-it-yourself will online in 2017. The couple wanted to make sure that their home and other assets would pass to the woman in the event of her husband’s death, which was expected due to issues with diabetes and kidney failure. The woman’s name was not on any of the paperwork, such as the couple’s mortgage, so it was hoped the will would pass those assets on to her without issue.

The couple’s will needed a witness signature, and the individual who notarized their document told the woman to sign as the witness. Unfortunately, this action was a mistake because the woman was a beneficiary of the will, and therefore, she should not have acted as the signing witness. This error resulted in the will being considered invalid by the court after the woman’s husband died in 2018. Now, the woman is fighting to keep her home.

It is an unfortunate and common reality that a simple mistake with a will could lead to significant issues later on. Though DIY wills may seem easy and convenient, this option often does not result in individuals having all the information needed to create a valid document. It may prove more beneficial for New York residents to work with estate planning attorneys to ensure that their documents are valid and legally binding.