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Going it alone is always an option for Cleveland parents looking to create a will. However, there are a number of errors that can confound the efforts of testators and subject the estate to costly legal challenges and asset losses due to taxes. One deals with minor children.

Money that transfers directly to a minor upon death comes with a hitch. Failure to place this money inside a testamentary trust or otherwise name a guardian of the funds will allow the court to name a guardian. This could be someone with no familiarity with the family or the child.

There are simple steps to avoid the problem. One involves the use of a special account created by the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. A guardian named in the will oversees the funds until the minor is 21. Another option is to appoint a trustee to handle the money kept inside a testamentary trust. One benefit to a trust vehicle in wills is that any assets can carry explicit instructions governing distribution.

Problems may still arise in the case of a trustee or other administrator becoming unable or unwilling to serve. This is similar to cases where named heirs die prior to disbursement of funds. An attorney experienced with inheritance issues could ensure wills are written thoroughly to provide instruction in these instances. Legal guidance may also protect against will contest, fraud and a higher than necessary tax burden on assets. In any case, the inability of people to testify directly as to their wishes after death or incapacity means that the utmost care must be taken in documenting them beforehand.