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2 things that can make your will ambiguous

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning ensures your loved ones are taken care of when you become incapacitated or die. Its primary elements protect your assets and distribute them according to your wishes. And a will is one of the essentials.  

Your will should be clear to make work more manageable for the heirs. Here are two things that can lead to ambiguity in a will.

1. Unclear language

Words can be interpreted differently. For this reason, it will help to provide definitions at the start of your will. Every sentence in the document should be clear. Two people who read any sentence should interpret it similarly. You should also limit the use of words that may have different meanings.

Further, you need to know when to use precatory and mandatory language. Precatory language expresses a wish. Examples include wish, ask, hope, desire or request. Mandatory language orders, such as shall and must. Avoid using precatory language in statements you want the executor to understand their obligation.

When statements are subject to debate, beneficiaries may contest the will, prolonging the execution process. This is disadvantageous, particularly if you have minor children who need to benefit from the will sooner.

2. Incomplete information

Your will should have complete information in every clause. If you want to leave an asset to your brother, state their name. Don’t write “my brother,” especially if you have more than one brother. The same applies to children. Name each child to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

Besides, when distributing assets, you should specify the items that will go to an individual. If one asset is to be designated to more than one person, state the percentage of value each gets.

It can be challenging to execute your will due to ambiguities. Consider working with experts and regularly revising your will to spot issues earlier and correct them.