A big concern that people have when they are making changes to their estate plans is how to avoid a will contest. One of the underlying goals of creating an estate plan should be to head off fights among your beneficiaries and instead promote acceptance that your true wishes have been spelled out and will ultimately be fulfilled. When setting up your estate, it is important to know how to avoid a will contest. This post will provides ways to avoid a will contest.
1. Don’t Procrastinate on Planning Your Estate
The time to start on your estate plan is while you have your wits about you, not when there can be any question about whether you really knew what you were thinking and doing. Avoiding a will contest starts when you create or update your estate plan at a time when it is clear that you are able to make informed decisions and understand all of the consequences of these decisions. If you’re not totally sure what you want to do, don’t use this an excuse. Making an estate plan that meets 90% of your goals is better than no plan at all. Avoiding a will contest is all about recognizing the problem and addressing it sooner rather than later.
2. Include a No Contest Clause in Your Estate Plan
A no contest clause, also called an in terrorem clause, is a provision that you can include in your will or revocable living trust which states that if anyone files a lawsuit to challenge who you have provided for in your estate plan, then the person challenging the will or trust will receive nothing from your estate. This can be a powerful deterrent to someone who is receiving what they perceive to be less than their fair share of your estate – OK, go ahead and file a will contest, but if you lose then you will get absolutely nothing.