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How can you avoid will contests?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Estate Planning & Probate

If you are putting together a will and want to make sure that there is no will contest in the future, one of the things you should consider is discussing methods for preventing them legally. For example, adding a no-contest clause usually prevents people from challenging your will unless they believe they have solid evidence to make their case.

Taking steps to prevent your will from being contested may help your family move forward more easily in the future. Here are a few ideas on what you can do to help.

  1. Add a no-contest clause to your will

One of the first things to do is to add a no-contest clause to your will. This clause will explain that anyone who contests the will and does not convince a judge of their opinion will lose their portion of the inheritance (or a portion, depending on how strict you want to be). Doing this makes a will contest a nuclear option for family members, so they may be more likely to settle for what they’ve received.

  1. Set up payable-on-death accounts

Instead of having assets that have to be distributed through the will, consider having payable-on-death accounts. These are accounts that don’t go through probate and that are assigned to a specific beneficiary. Similarly, you could use trusts to directly transfer assets to the heirs you select.

  1. Get your will notarized

If someone wants to challenge the idea that you had the mental capacity to set up or change your will, they will have a much harder time if you get that will notarized. Notarization “self-proves” a will, which means that it will take significant effort and evidence to show that the will was falsified or changed without your knowledge.

These are three ways to minimize the risk of a will contest. With good planning, you may be able to help your loved ones avoid litigation, so that your estate can be paid out and resolved more easily. If your family is prone to arguments, setting up precautionary measures is a good way to address issues before they arise.

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