The passing of a parent or spouse is a difficult time for everyone in the family. When combined with the subject of money and inheritance, a death in the family can, unfortunately, reignite old sibling rivalries or create new family drama if someone perceives your last wishes as invalid or unjust.
While it isn’t easy to overturn a last will without a valid legal reason, will contests can still happen. However, having the right estate plan in place can stop fights among your beneficiaries and ensure your last wishes will be fulfilled. Here are four steps you can take to avoid someone contesting your will:
1. Don’t delay creating your estate plan
You mustn’t delay establishing your estate plan for numerous reasons. Having a solid estate plan ensures that the court will manage your assets and belongings according to your wishes rather than leaving it up to state laws. Also, preparing or updating your end-of-life plans while you are still healthy and able can head off any questions from relatives about whether you were of sound mind when you wrote it.
2. Consider a no-contest clause
Including a no-contest clause in your estate plan is an excellent way to prevent someone from contesting your last wishes. As its name suggests, a no-contest clause is a provision that states anyone who files a lawsuit to challenge your will or trust will receive nothing from your estate. That way, even if a beneficiary doesn’t find what they receive fair, they’ll take what they can get rather than get nothing.
3. Consider adding a trust to your estate portfolio
There are several advantages to having a trust as part of your estate plan. A revocable living trust is a legal entity that holds ownership of your assets and property. Unlike a will, a revocable living trust is a private document whose details will never become available to the public. The assets in your trust also would not pass through probate court to avoid any potential contests.
4. Share your plans with your beneficiaries
Sometimes the best way to prevent any conflicts between your heirs is to sit down and explain how you decide to distribute your assets. Whether you do so in person or a letter you include with your estate plan, explaining your actions can help to prevent will contests from an inheritor.