How to Make a Will That Cannot Be Contested: A Comprehensive Guide
Published January 1, 2024
After crafting your will, you likely expect this is all you have to do for your wishes to be respected. Moreover, have all your assets to be distributed justly. Yet, having a will might not be adequate to keep your loved ones from contesting it. The last thing you desire is for your loved ones to be left hurt and quarrel after your demise.
In this article, we’ll drop a comprehensive guide on how to make a will that cannot be contested. Let’s waste no more time and start.
How to Make a Will That Cannot Be Contested: All the Ways
1. Discuss your will with loved ones.
Some might not think to talk about their estate plans with loved ones far ahead of time. Deliberating these topics can be upsetting. A common thinking is that you might assume you have plenty of time left to do so. Yet, illnesses and accidents can pay a visit at any time. Thus, it would be best if you didn’t put off having these conversations with everyone.
Allow your family to know your intentions for your assets in advance. It helps guarantee that there won’t be any surprises. It is the proper time. Your loved ones should already know how your assets will be distributed. Moreover, they have the understanding that these decisions were your own. We can only hope that there will be no problems later on.
2. Create your will with an attorney.
Today, you can find many resources on the web that can assist in creating a DIY will. It may be deemed a great option, too. It is faster. It is something you can accomplish on your own.
Yet, the best way to write your will is with the support of an estate planning attorney. Cutting corners and trying this yourself only boosts the risk of something being done incorrectly. It will only leave others questioning your will.
An estate planning attorney can support you in ensuring your will is crafted correctly. They will also do their best so no issues could result in a will contest.
3. Include a no-contest clause.
If you suspect one of your loved ones will likely contest your will, consider having a no-contest clause. It is a statement you can attach to your choice. It suggests that anyone who challenges your will and loses will no longer collect the inheritance you intend for them.
It can make a loved one try to fight for more than you left, not risk losing what you did for them. It can help dissuade people from contesting it. It is especially true if there aren’t severe concerns over respecting your wishes.
4. Prove your competency
Many people might not have to fret about their family questioning the state of mind they were in. It is especially true while creating estate planning documents. If you’re concerned that they might try to claim that you are deficient in the testament capacity needed to craft a valid will, it is something you may want to plan for now.
An estate planning attorney can support you. It well help in understanding what you need to do to show competence. For one, they may obtain reassurance from your doctor.
5. State the reason for a reduced share in a letter of intent.
Suppose you are leaving someone out of your will. Also, suppose you are giving one a reduced share of your estate. Write a letter of intent to your executor stating why that person receives nothing or a reduced percentage.
Go in-depth. Explain the disposition of your estate. Make sure the attorney drafting the will reviews the letter of intent. Keep the letter of intent with your will.
6. Videotape the will signing.
A video recording during the actual will signing is a smart move. It can go a long way in proving that you signed your will freely and voluntarily. It would also be powerful for you to explain in your own words the reasoning behind the status of your estate.
Yet, videotaping does host some risks. The video can inadvertently display that the testator lacked capacity or another person unduly influenced the estate plan. Any practice session with the attorney would be subject to discovery in court. Consequently, this strategy is rarely used. It is expected when the testator is competent and comfortable recording.
7. Keep intended beneficiaries away from the preparation and signing of the will.
To avoid a contested will, you should remove any appearance of undue influence. It is not only while the intention is drafted. It should be, especially when it is signed. It means you should not involve anyone who stands to inherit under the choice during the drafting and execution.
The Success Rate of Contesting a Will
The success rate of contesting will be anchored on different factors. It will include whether the person contesting is eligible. The specific circumstances of each case affect too. Further, the legal requirements are fulfilled by the original will.
It’s critical to know that very few wills are contested. It is only less than 1%. Even when a will is contested, the chances of a successful challenge can be slim. This is especially true when the testator has a probate attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions About Will Contest.
1. On what grounds can a will be contested?
- Lack of testamentary capacity. It means that the testator was not mentally capable. It is to understand what they were doing in crafting the will.
- Undue influence. It is the case when the testator was coerced or pressured into making the will. Crafting specific provisions in it is also essential.
- Fraud or forgery. It was the case when the will was counterfeit, or the testator was tricked into signing it.
- Lack of valid execution. A will must be executed appropriately. It is by the laws of the state where it was made. It includes being signed by the testator. Also, being witnessed by at least two people.
- Lack of knowledge and approval. The testator must have known and approved the contents of the will.
- The will is incomplete or faulty.
2. Is it worth contesting a will?
It may be worth contesting a will if you can prove that it was falsely notarized. Or if it is fake or crafted with undue influence. Yet, these things are difficult to prove. It would demand solid evidence.
3. Evidence needed to contest a will?
- Medical records. These can be used to affirm that the testator lacks testamentary capacity in making the will. It may include doctor’s notes or mental health assessments. Also, prescription records.
- Witness testimony. Witnesses can testify about the testator’s state of mind. Also, there are instances of undue influence, coercion, or fraud.
- Relevant documents. Examples: Previous versions of the will. Correspondence related to the choice. Financial records.
- Expert testimony. Expert witnesses can sometimes render essential evidence: Dor one, geriatric psychiatrists, or forensic document examiners.
- Evidence of a relationship with the deceased. Proof of familial ties, marriage certificates, or other documents proving a relationship with the dead.
4. Can someone contest a will if they are not in it?
Yes. Someone can contest a will even if they’re not named in it. Yet, they must contain legal standing to do so. It means the person must be an interested party. It must be someone who would have inherited from the deceased if there was no will under an older will.
A will is perhaps the most vital document you’ll ever write. It gives you an avenue to dictate what happens to your property and assets after your demise. Thus, contesting it seems like a disrespect we would not wish on anyone. With our guide, you’ll know all the steps you can take to prevent such actions. It will give you peace of mind that what you’re leaving behind the world directs to your loved ones appropriately.
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