Your will should include the terms and conditions that matter most to you regarding the distribution of your property after you die. From providing the most valuable assets to your most valuable family members to carefully designating certain property to specific people because of its emotional value, you may have made some very important and very personal choices when deciding what to include in your will.
Unfortunately, some estate plans will end up in probate court because a member of the family or a beneficiary is unhappy with the terms set by the testator. They can file a lawsuit that slows does the probate process and could cost thousands of dollars in estate property.
Is it possible for you to prevent such challenges from wasting your estate’s assets and undermining your last wishes?
You can add a no-contest clause
It is possible for those using a will or trust in their estate plan to add a special clause to reduce probate challenges. A no-contest clause can create significant penalties for someone who challenges your estate plan in probate court. Someone who knows they will lose their inheritance for contesting your will is less likely to bring a frivolous challenge in court.
You could add a trust
A trust theoretically prevents certain assets from passing through probate court and thus protects them from any challenges against your will. While trusts can also face contests, the likelihood of a successful contest is much lower with the trust than with a standard will.
You can embrace transparency
Surprising inclusions in estate plans are a leading cause of probate challenges. When people and a family have specific expectations and a will deviates from what people anticipate, they may go to court believing that they are right to do so.
When you talk with your family members about what you want to do with your property, you may have to have a few uncomfortable conversations. However, your loved ones will have years to come to terms with your wishes. Instead of shock and disappointment, they will likely just be grateful for what they do inherit when they know what to expect at the reading of your will.
Exploring viable solutions to protect your legacy can help you make use of the best estate planning tools given your circumstances.