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The easy-to-miss detail your will needs to include 

Posted on: January 10 2020

A lot of the “defective” wills we have to deal with weren’t created by careless people. 

Most of the time, these wills were created by people who were doing their best, but they ended up missing a few important details. 

One of the mistakes we see a lot is the failure to appoint alternative people to key roles. 

The three most important roles to appoint are the executor, alternative executor and guardian for minor children. For these roles, it isn’t enough to just assign one person to them. If you have only one person assigned to a key role, they could die before you. Then if you pass away, your family is left in a legally difficult position.  

So, what happens if you die and a person in a key role has passed away?   

This can set off a lot of problems. 

If you have a blended family or a lot of children, then the empty roles can create a lot of tension, infighting, and legal disputes. Instead of it being clear who should act as a guardian for your minor children or who should be in charge of your estate, it’s all up for grabs. 

You probably know of a family whose relationship disintegrated because of disputes relating to an estate. It’s sadly far too common. While you can’t control how your family reacts to your death, you can limit the amount of pain, confusion and tension that’s created by your death by ensuring your will has longevity. 

Make sure that you’ve assigned more than one person to key roles in your will, so that you can save your family from a lot of stress. It’s just a matter of being prepared. 

If you get this detail right with your will, then you can end a lot of conflicts before they begin. All it takes is the right advice and a bit of careful planning.

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Samantha Schnabel, Lawyer

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