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What happens if you leave a valuable item out of your will?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Wills

When you draft your will, attention to detail is important. Every element of the document requires careful consideration to ensure that your final wishes are precisely articulated and executed.

Unfortunately, overlooking a high-value item in your will can lead to unforeseen and potentially contentious consequences.

Loss of control over distribution

Failure to include a significant asset in your will means relinquishing control over its distribution. Without specific instructions, state laws or intestacy rules may dictate the division of your assets among your heirs. This could result in unequal distribution or allocation to individuals you did not intend to benefit.

Family conflict

The absence of clear guidance regarding a valuable possession can fuel family discord and legal battles. Disagreements may arise among heirs regarding who should rightfully inherit the item, leading to costly and emotionally draining court proceedings. Such disputes can strain relationships and tarnish your legacy.

Potential tax consequences

Leaving a high-value asset out of your will may also have tax implications for your estate and beneficiaries. The asset may be subject to estate taxes or capital gains taxes upon transfer, potentially reducing the inheritance received by your loved ones.

Loss of sentimental value

Beyond financial implications, failing to address a cherished item in your will can overlook its sentimental value to certain family members. While it is easy to divide monetary assets, sentimental possessions often carry emotional significance that is difficult to quantify. Neglecting to designate these items can lead to hurt feelings and resentment among heirs.

Delayed probate

The exclusion of a high-value asset may prolong the probate process as the court works to resolve any disputes or uncertainties surrounding its distribution. Delays in probate can tie up the administration of your estate, preventing beneficiaries from receiving their inheritances in a timely manner.

Mitigating the risk

To avoid the potential pitfalls of leaving a valuable item out of your final plans, regularly review and update your will. Work with a qualified professional to ensure all assets, especially those of significant value or sentimental importance, are properly accounted for and allocated according to your wishes.

Taking proactive steps to address all assets in your estate plan can provide clarity, minimize disputes and preserve your legacy for future generations.