Most people feel confident that their heirs are going to carry out their last wishes exactly as they have been laid out in their will. However, this is, unfortunately, not always the case. Wills can be challenged, and if you’ve had a major falling out with someone and removed them from the will, they’re likely to attempt to have your wishes invalidated. In some cases, you may not even have purposely left someone out. A relative may come forward because they feel like they should have been included for whatever reason. If you have a feeling your will is going to be challenged, what can you do about it? The good news is that you can set up some protections.
Be Certain Your Will Is Legal
The first thing to do is to make certain that you have a legal will. It needs to be signed, witnessed, and notarized. It needs to include all of the correct language, too. This is one place where working with an estate planning expert can be invaluable. Your attorney can also make certain your competence is fully documented so any challenge claiming you were not mentally competent when signing your will won’t succeed. Video recording yourself signing your will can help with this, too.
Include a No-Contest Clause
This clause can help protect your will by stating that anyone who challenges the will in court and loses gets nothing, not even what they were originally left. The trick here is to make sure you’re leaving each person in the will enough that they won’t try to challenge for more because they don’t want to lose what they are getting. It doesn’t stop others from coming forward and claiming they were left out entirely, but it can stop named heirs from trying to take more than their share.
Don’t Let Family Members Help You Write Your Will
If you involve any family members in drafting your will, those not involved may try to say that they influenced you. Instead, only work with your estate attorney, CPA, and other impartial experts. This way, no family member will be able to say that you were influenced.
Need an estate planning expert on your side? Contact the office of Michael F. Kanzer & Associates today to discuss your will.