Tip 1: Be clear about what your Will covers and what it doesn’t.
When you’re creating your estate plan it’s important to keep in mind that your Will only covers specific property, known as your probate estate. Other property, such as joint property you own with your spouse and property that has a right of survivorship, will not pass through probate and is not covered under your Will. This means that if you want to give equal portions of your estate to certain people, you will have to look at all of your property and include that which does not pass through probate. Otherwise, if you only rely on your Will to distribute equal portions of your entire estate you may inadvertently give someone a larger share than you had wished.
Tip 2: Be careful when gifting specific property.
If you name specific property in your Will it’s important to go back and change your Will if you later dispose of that property. For example, if you give your granddaughter your classic car in your Will and later sell it, your granddaughter will not receive anything when it comes time for her inheritance. If you choose to include specific gifts, you may also want to include clauses that specify alternate gifts should you no longer own the specific gift at the time of your death.
Tip 3: Get professional advice.
The easiest way to accidentally disinherit someone is by making a mistake in creating your estate plan. To prevent this problem all you need to do is talk to your estate planning lawyer to regularly review your plan and make changes as they become necessary. Otherwise all your effort may be for naught.