Although the word Will is known by most, it is often a misunderstood estate planning tool in terms of what it does and does not do. Especially for those living in California and who own real property, it certainly does not accomplish what many believe it does. Unfortunately, many surviving family members only learn this later when enduring a long administration process in probate court.
In reading the linked piece from the Wall Street Journal, you’ll see some of the biggest mistakes made concerning Wills. Although understandable due to the topic concerning death, procrastination is a big one. And, stressing about needing to create estate planning documents when dealing with an urgent medical scenario does not provide an environment for sound decision making nor contribute to a speedier recovery.
Another mistake noted is the outright distribution of assets to beneficiaries who are not in a good place to receive them (due to age, addictions, special needs, and a number of other reasons). Oftentimes, a Will simply names who should get assets, and there is no forethought about other helpful options available that likely would better preserve assets and serve recipients for longer.