Awful Mistakes People Make When Creating Their Own Wills are:

  • Not mention the disinherited heir by name, and expressly state that you are not leaving this person a portion of your estate.
  • Leaving assets to pets. Leave your pet and money for its care to someone who will take good care of the animal and who has agreed to do so.
  • Leaving significant assets directly to minors. Follow instructions in a DIY will-creation tool, you could specify that assets left to a minor should be placed in a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account when you die. You could also leave the money to a trust that names the minor as a beneficiary.
  • Assuming that all of your assets will be distributed as dictated by your will. The beneficiary designations on certain accounts and assets, including 401(k)s, IRAs and life insurance policies, take precedence over the beneficiaries you name in your will. Example: A man removes his gambling-addict son from his will but fails to remove him from the beneficiary designation on his 401(k), accidentally handing over much of his savings to someone who is likely to lose it. It is better to confirm that the beneficiary designations on your accounts and insurance policies distribute your assets according to your current wishes. There is no need to include these accounts and policies in your will.