When you begin estate planning, you may not consider the risk of a family member contesting your will and sending your entire family through a lengthy and contentious probate process. It is important to recognize this possibility and understand the most common reasons for contesting a will.
With the right planning in advance, you can protect your family from the potential of a contested will.
Establish a trust
If you establish a revocable living trust instead of distributing assets with a will, you eliminate the risk of probate. The trust is its own independent existence and is protected from contest, which makes it distinctly different from a will.
Address any exclusions
When you exclude someone from your will, that is a leading cause for a contest. Many family members believe that they were simply overlooked and it was an error, so they contest the will to get what they believe they deserve. If you address any exclusions directly in the text of your will, you can reduce the risk of a contest.
Include a video will
Although a video will by itself is not permissible and wills must go to the court in hard copy, having a video in which you discuss the terms of your will can help showcase your state of mind, which eliminates another potential issue that leads to contest.
Proactive considerations protect your estate plan from those family members who may feel slighted or who become angry in their grief. Protect your family from the upheaval of probate from contesting a will with these tips.