By creating a will as part of your estate plan, you are putting down your last wishes regarding your assets and property distribution. However, all that careful planning and thought could be futile if someone successfully contests your will. In addition, a will contest can create rifts among your beneficiaries, something you may have wanted to avoid after you are gone.
Below are the reasons that may cause a will contest, as well as some tips that may help prevent it and guarantee a smooth transfer of your estate.
Why your will may be contested
If your will is not drafted correctly according to the laws of your state, it may be contested. Grounds for a contest may include:
- A lack of testamentary capacity
- Undue influence or fraud
- Technical flaws
- Legal inheritance rights, among others.
Avoiding a contest
To prevent a will contest, it is advisable to communicate your wishes to the beneficiaries beforehand. Clear communication will prevent any surprises when the will is being executed. It will also ensure that everyone knows what is in it for them, and any forthcoming issues that may lead to a contest can be addressed.
You can also prevent a contest by avoiding a will altogether. There are other tools that you can explore instead of having a will. For example, you can place your assets into a living trust during your lifetime. After you are gone, these assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. A trust does not pass through probate court, and it cannot be contested in most cases. More so, a trust has some sense of privacy, and anyone not listed in it will not be privy to the assets owned by the trust.
It is important to be aware of the available options regarding your estate plans. You can then make the right decision that will execute your last wishes to the letter.