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4 Ways to Reduce the Likelihood of a Will Contest After Your Death

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneysIt is not easy to think about what will happen to your personal belonging and financial assets after your death. However, the process of estate planning can be an important part of providing your surviving family members with the security and peace of mind that they deserve.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for families to become fractured and split by disagreements over the estate of a deceased loved one. Such disputes can lead to many years of bitterness between family members who were once close. In some cases, a family member might feel so left out that he or she files a challenge to the decedent’s will. While there is no way to fully guarantee that one of your family members will not contest your will, there are few things you can do to reduce the possibility of such action.

1.  Make Your Plan Early

Many will contests are filed on the basis that the testator—the person who wrote the will—did not have the mental clarity needed to execute a will. The longer you wait to write a will, the more likely it is that your advancing age, decreasing health, and other considerations might be used as “reasons” for contesting your will. Draft and execute your will long before your mental state could reasonably be questioned, and work closely with a qualified estate planning lawyer.

2. Talk About Your Plans

You have the right to decide what will happen to your property after your death. You might feel pressured to make certain decisions by your family members, but the choices are ultimately up to you. Once you have made your decisions, you might consider talking about them with those who are closest to you. As a result of the conversation, you might be inclined to reconsider some of your choices, and that is okay. However, an in-depth discussion will show your loved ones that you have truly given thought to your choices—which could be a factor in preventing a future challenge.

3. No-Contest Provisions

There is nothing you can do to physically stop a person from challenging your will, but you can discourage those listed as your heirs from doing so with a no-contest clause. A no-contest clause could be written in such a way that any heir or would-be heir who files a challenge to the will automatically forfeits the portion of your estate that he or she would have otherwise received. At a minimum, a no-contest provision might force your heirs to think about the consequences of challenging your will and losing.

4. Use Trusts

Perhaps the most efficient way to prevent a will contest is to avoid relying on your will to distribute the bulk of your estate. By using living trusts, testamentary trust, and other types of trusts, you can transfer your property to the trusts while you are still alive. Property controlled by a trust is not generally subject to the terms of your will—or a possible will contest. A skilled attorney can help you establish the appropriate trusts.

Call a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer

For more information about creating a sound estate plan, contact an experienced Lombard wills and trusts attorney at A. Traub & Associates. We will work with you in all aspects of the estate planning process, including taking steps to prevent a possible will contest. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-avoiding-a-will-contest-3505204

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardkrooks/2011/05/10/how-to-prevent-a-will-contest/


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