Having a will or trust contested can hinder your final wishes, drain your estate and put a wedge between your loved ones. Proper planning ahead of time can help avoid these pitfalls for your will or trust.
Consider these tips when creating your estate plan in order to avoid your final wishes being contested.
1. Don’t try to do it yourself.
Trying to create or update your will or trust yourself can leave it open for lawsuit. Having an experienced estate planning attorney put together your estate plan and maintain it can discourage most attempts of heirs to contest your wishes. You may think you have it air-tight but that may not be true without professional help.
2. Don’t forget to inform your family of your plans.
Keeping your estate plans secret from your family can cause contempt and lead to them contesting your will. You do not need to reveal all the details of your plan but they need to know that you do have a plan and whom they can contact if you were to become incapacitated or die. This will give them the peace of mind that your true desires are going to be reflected.
3. Discretionary trusts can be used for beneficiaries that may become a problem.
If you have a beneficiary that you are not confident will spend their inheritance wisely or that they will use it for something against your beliefs, you have options in dealing with this. You could completely disinherit them or you could try something different by still allowing them some of the inheritance but in a controlled way. A lifetime discretionary trust could be created with a third party, bank or trust company, as the trustee. Distributions could be given, as you decide, with terms and conditions on the trust. A secondary beneficiary can be added to the trust if the funds have not been fully distributed before the primary beneficiary dies.
4. Don’t forget to update your estate plan regularly.
Once you create your estate plan, you are not done but just getting started. Constant changing and updating needs to be done to ensure it reflects your current condition and changes in laws. Having an up to date estate plan will discourage it being contested since it reflects your most recent family and financial situation. Others will know that it truly shows what your final wishes and desires are.
These four thoughts can help in eliminating your will or trust being contested by loved ones you leave behind. Your final wishes are more likely to be fulfilled in the way you planned. Please contact us immediately if you are concerned that your heirs may contest your will or trust. We can help you make sure your estate plan is in the best situation to avoid problems once you pass on from this world.