Will contests or contests over intestate estates (what you have if you fail to plan) are some of the most detrimental and ugly court battles. After losing a loved one, the emotions and anger can be misplaced and directed at an undeserving recipient. We aren’t thinking clearly because our loss has clouded our vision. This rips families apart and, often, the one person that could bring them back together again is no longer here. This is especially true when families fight over minor children. Often what happens is the child loses Mom and Dad, and if Grandparents fight over who should be the guardians, the child also loses the Grandparents that are not victorious in litigation.
If you have a professionally prepared Will or Trust, the likelihood of this happening is minimal. A contest of a professionally prepared Will of Trust is unlikely because that professional should know the key areas that someone could attack the validity of that Will or Trust and prepare for it. So, how do we avoid, or decrease, the chances of this happening after we pass away?
Have Your Plan Professionally Prepared
Why is this so important? An attorney can custom tailor your Will or Trust in clear and concise language and ensure that all of the provisions work in harmony. A contest is possible if any of the provisions are conflicting. Do-it-yourself Wills from the internet, Legal Zoom or Nolo cannot custom tailor your Will or Trust. If you don’t know what a provision means, how are you going to know how it interacts with other provisions in your Will or Trust? Also, a lawyer will ensure that your Will is properly witnessed to ensure its validity.
Make your Will or Trust Contest Resistant
The three most common contests of an estate plan are: 1) Mental incompetency; 2) Creating a Will based on coercion or threat; or 3) Enticing someone to make a Will based on a false promise. The signing ceremony helps to minimize the availability of Will or Trust contests as it ensures that none of the above have occurred and it has the creator swear to this in front of witnesses. Later, those witnesses have to swear to this fact in front of a Public Notary of the State.
Inclusion of a No Contest Clause
A no contest clause states that if any person receiving an inheritance, or potentially receiving an inheritance, from your Will or Trust forfeit that inheritance if that person contests any part of the Estate Plan. In reality, these provisions will not be upheld in court. Most of the time their inclusion keeps people from attempting a contest. Because of this occurrence, most lawyers include these provisions in all Wills and Trusts.
If you want to have a professionally created Will or Trust and increase the potential of family harmony after you have passes, call Jeppesen Law, PLLC at 208-477-1785 or visit www.jeppesenlaw.com and sign up for our newsletter and have us contact you!