3 tips for safeguarding your will from contestation

| Jul 19, 2021 | Blog, Estate Planning |

When there is inheritance, there are also often those who want to fight the heirs for a piece of it. For instance, the death of Tom Carvel (the inventor of soft-serve ice cream) triggered a years-long major fight over his will.

You may not want your inheritors to have to suffer through a long probate process or a draining legal battle. Certain actions may help prevent a situation where they have to.

1. Include a no-contest clause

Essentially, you leave anyone you suspect may contest the will later a small inheritance. As part of the terms for receiving this inheritance, you specify that they may not challenge the will or they get nothing. The problem with this is that they may decide to still appeal if they believe they are able to win and obtain more.

2. Record the signing of the will

Mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud and coercion are all grounds for contesting a will. To stave off accusations of these, video record yourself not only signing the will but explaining your exact reasoning (which you may also want to include in the actual written document). You may also want to avoid involving family members in the process and use independent witnesses (at least two).

3. Tell your heirs in advance

Do not blindside them with unexpected circumstances. Discussing the contents of your will with your heirs beforehand may help them understand and avoid unpleasantly surprising them. If you make changes, inform the involved parties about them instead of leaving them to discover them after you are gone since sudden, non-mentioned alterations may raise suspicions.

It is important to properly execute your will. Appoint a trusted individual as executor and maybe consider consulting someone to ensure you have the legal aspects and loopholes covered.

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