mistakes, errors, pitfalls & problems in last will writing, writing wills and testaments
Mistakes, Errors & Pitfalls in Last Wills and TestamentCommon Mistakes, Errors & Pitfalls DURING the Process of Writing A WILL


mistakes, errors, pitfalls & problems in last will writing, writing wills and testaments 5. Didn't Account For "Leftover" Assets
  • Even if you have accounted for all your assets, make provisions for leftovers clauses in your WILL to take care of any leftovers assets that you may accumulate as time passes.

  • Leftovers assets are items or assets that are not specifically mentioned in your last WILL.

  • If the leftovers assets are not claimed or distributed to the beneficiaries, it means that your leftovers assets are intestate (meaning without a WILL). Thus the state will determine the fate of those assets.


6. Didn't Provide Detailed Gift Description
  • If you have different gift items, it is important for you to provide a detail description of the gift items and its allocation to the respective beneficiaries.

  • E.g. Stating a diamond ring to be given to child 1 and another diamond ring to be given to child 2 would provide grounds for disputes among the children. If the two diamond rings are of different values and designs, the chances of disputes and arguments are high.

  • Be detailed in your descriptions and if possible, explain your decisions to prevent any dispute or dissatisfaction.


7. Didn't Clearly Distinguish Between Children
  • If you have your own children by birth, godchildren and adopted children, clearly distinguish the children in your last WILL and the asset allocation to the respective child.

  • E.g. if you mentioned a certain percentage to be distributed equally among your children, do you mean distribute equally among your children-by-birth, or distribute equally among all your children including your godchildren and adopted children?


8. Didn't Check Details in "Cut & Paste" Wills
  • There are many standard clauses in a legal WILL.

  • Often, writing WILL involves “cut & paste” actions from other legal WILLs at the initial steps.

  • It is important that you check every clause in your legal WILL to ensure that it is relevant to you and to check the details to ensure that they are accurate.

  • E.g. It is also common to find errors in the name of beneficiaries, simply because these clauses indicating the name of beneficiaries were “cut & paste” from the previous WILL and were not changed.


9. Didn't Use Easily Understood Language
  • It is common for WILLs to be drafted in legal language.

  • Many assume that a legal WILL has to be written in legal language.

  • Write the WILL in common and easy-to-understand language.

  • If you don’t understand the clause, ask for that clause to be rewritten in a common and easy-to-understand language.

  • Remove all ambiguous sentences.

  • Don’t assume that it is alright as long as your solicitor understands it. It is afterall your legal WILL and you need to understand every clause that is written.

  • Perform a simple test – are you able to understand every clause without any explanation from the lawyer? If you don’t, don’t expect your executor/s to understand.


10. Didn't Have Proper Witness
  • In most jurisdictions, the beneficiary cannot be the witness of a legal WILL.

  • Do not make the mistake for asking your beneficiary to be the witness of your last WILL.


11. Didn't Date The WILL
  • All legal WILLs must be dated.

  • It is a common mistake for many to sign their WILLs without dating them.


12. Didn't Provide Complete Name
  • It is common for people to provide inaccurate names or incomplete names in their WILLs.

  • E.g. #1 – If one of your beneficiaries is George Bush, please note that there are many people with the name “George Bush” around. You may wish to indicate the person as “your son George Andrew Bush” or “George Daniel Bush born on 25 December 1945”.

  • E.g. #2 – If you wish to name a charity as one of your beneficiaries, please check the correct full name of that charity organisation. Is it a National Cancer Society or a Local Cancer Association or State Cancer Charity or Private Cancer Trust?

  • If possible include the registered address or organisation registration number of that charity organisation in your last WILL; as there may be many e.g. “National Kidney Foundations” around the world.




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What to consider when writing a WILL? | Types of WILLs |
Know the jargons before writing your WILL | Questions surrounding WILL writing
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