Tips to help avoid a will contest
A will contest is when someone believes that a decedent’s will should not stand. This can lead to a significant dispute between heirs. One person may claim that the will is fraudulent, for example, while the rest of the heirs believe that it is real and should be followed.
As you do your estate planning, avoiding a will contest may be one of your top goals. You can use a no-contest clause, but it can be hard to enforce, and it doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be a will contest. It just means that the person who starts the challenge will receive nothing from the estate plan if that contest is not successful. So what else can you do to keep this from happening?
Talk about your estate plan
Some people think that they should keep their estate plan to themselves. It feels very private. But it can be helpful to sit down and talk with your heirs and beneficiaries about what your plan says and what you want. This saves your heirs the trouble of having to discuss what you would have wanted in the future.
Get started early
Likewise, it can be beneficial to start your estate planning as early as possible. This gives you time to talk to your heirs, consider what people expect and decide how you want to design the plan so that it works for everyone. Rushing through it at the last second may be more likely to cause a dispute later.
Don’t neglect the estate plan
People sometimes write their estate plan, file it away and never touch it again. If you do this, it may be outdated when you pass away, and estate disputes could start because heirs feel that the plan no longer accurately reflects your wishes. However, if you make updates periodically, there is a clear paper trail regarding what you want the estate plan to accomplish.
These tips can certainly help, but estate planning is very complex. Be sure you know exactly what options you have.