It should be a priority for every adult to create a will after marriage or having a child. There are new apps and software that make it easy to create a will, but to be safe, it is always a good idea to have this document reviewed by an experienced attorney to ensure the language will hold up in court.
There are many people who pass away without a will, and this creates many problems when family members attempt to divide assets on their own. However, another problem lawyers see quite frequently is someone passing away with multiple wills in place. It can be extremely difficult for the family to know what their loved one actually wanted, especially if there are substantial differences in the division of assets. Luckily, attorneys can generally figure out which one should go to court.
What criteria will legal professionals look at?
In general, the attorneys involved will consider whichever will is most recent. However, they also need to consider whether a will was properly executed. Last wills and testaments must involve two witnesses as well as a legal professional signing the document, so if one lacks those factors, then the court may not consider the document valid. Family members may also have concerns one will exists due to undue influence from a relative trying to take advantage of deceased. Those concerns should come to the forefront of a legal case, if legitimate.
How can people avoid this issue?
It is beneficial to create multiple wills throughout life. Major life events necessitate the need to change which beneficiaries a person will want. The best course of action in this instance is to destroy any previous versions of a will. A person can also avoid any confusion by writing “Void” or “Cancelled” on the document. The individual should also keep his or her lawyer in the loop so that the legal professional knows which document to present to the court.