You want your assets and personal possessions to go where you direct when you’re gone — but you’re concerned that one or more of your heirs may contest your will.
You can take steps now to minimize the chances of your heirs contesting your will once you’ve passed on. It may be helpful to integrate these tips when revising your will so that there aren’t any problems.
Why do heirs contest wills, and what can avoid it happening?
A contested will can come about when one or more of your heirs:
- Claims that you were subjected to undue influence (coerced or manipulated) when drafting your will
- Argues you weren’t of testamentary capacity (in your right mind) to draft the document
- Claim that the will’s technical aspects don’t align with the law (making the entire document invalid)
You can often avoid problems by making sure your estate plans are professionally prepared. An attorney will ask the appropriate questions to ensure that you understand its contents, aren’t signing it under duress and that it complies with the latest laws. They may also later be able to testify that you were of sound mind and under no particular duress or influence when your will was made.
Another reason heirs tend to contest wills is that they feel like you didn’t leave them what they believe you might have promised them or expected. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to advise your loved one in advance of what you plan to leave them. If you plan to write someone out of your will, you might want to draft a note letting the court know that you plan to do so, along with a justification as to why. This will ensure that there’s no question about your intentions.
Learn more about the steps that you can take to reduce the chances of in-fighting once you’re gone.