People make a lot of mistakes when creating wills and estate plans. Some don't make a will at all. Others forget about tax implications. Still others don't think about the sentimental value of certain items and create conflict between siblings.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, though, is simply picking the wrong person to be the executor for your estate. This person has a big job. They need to take inventory of your assets, distribute copies of the will, pay taxes and handle other financial tasks with the estate. They also need to make sure that the assets get passed out to the right people in accordance with the will.
Maybe you think one child will be able to do all of this, but the reality is that they don't have enough time. They rush through it and make serious mistakes. They forget important details.
This is also a complicated process. Maybe you believe that your child can do it, but it's overwhelming. He or she just is not up to the challenge and doesn't know where to start. This can lead to serious errors like not paying taxes on the estate.
Or, maybe you've forgotten about sibling rivalries. No matter who you pick, your kids are not going to approve of the job that person does. Maybe you need an outsider, someone who is objective and not personally invested in the process. This can sometimes help smooth things over by eliminating these rivalries.
If you do make this mistake, your heirs could end up in a long legal estate battle, and they need to know about all the rights and options they have.