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3 ways to ward off will contestation

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Your will is the embodiment of the final desires and thoughts you leave to the world. It is also a way to ensure your loved ones’ care even after you are no longer able to do so personally.

Will contestation can prevent the carrying out of your last wishes and rob your heirs of what you wished to leave them. However, there are ways to combat it.

1. Explain your choices

Use clear, unambiguous language and explain in detail why you made the decisions you did. A letter or video can act as evidence that you were in your right mind when you created your will, helping push back against any claims of mental incompetency.

2. Communicate with your heirs

Talk to your heirs and any individuals who expect to be your heirs, such as other children, if you only want one child to inherit all or most of your assets. Explain your reasoning in advance to help avoid giving them a sudden shock after your passing. It also gives them time to acclimate themselves to your decisions, and you time to change your mind if new information comes to light or your reasoning changes.

3. Add extra provisions

A common reason for challenging a will is claiming that you simply forgot to include a person. You can prevent this by listing token amounts for individuals you suspect may use this tactic; another option is to leave a reasonable amount to them with a no-contest clause that specifies they will lose the right to the inheritance if they contest the will. It may also be beneficial to seek counsel, especially if your estate is expansive or requires complex measures like trusts.

As you write your will and prepare your estate plan, considering the possibility of a challenge can potentially spare your heirs the added trouble, expense and stress of a court case in the future.