Will contests can be heartbreaking. Family bonds may be irrevocably broken as feuds start that may last for years. It doesn’t have to be that way. Please read on to learn five tips for avoiding a Will contest.
#1: Discuss Plans with Your Family
Talking with family members about estate plans is not always easy. Some people get upset at the thought of a parent passing away. Others may feel they should receive a larger inheritance than someone else.
It’s difficult, but also necessary especially if you are planning to disinherit an heir or give disproportionate shares to your family members. Think of it as ‘managing expectations.’ Your family may be less likely to fight about the estate if they are prepared in advance.
#2: Don’t Completely Leave Relatives out of the Will
One way to minimize the chance of a disgruntled heir heading to court is to leave that person a small bequest. People who don’t have anything to gain from the estate may be more likely to fight it.
#3: Include a No-Contest Clause
Consider including a no-contest clause in your Will. This clause states that anyone who challenges the Will in court loses any inheritance they were supposed to receive. Minnesota does enforce no-contest clauses in Wills, unless the person filing had probable cause to file the Will contest.
#4: Have an Attorney Draw Up Your Will
Many people are eager to write their own Wills. After all, they don’t have to suffer through the lengthy, frustrating probate that ensues after their death. There’s a reason lawyers help people write Will. Attorneys have the training and experience to know how to write a Will that will meet your goals – and stand up in court.
#5: Use a Trust-Based Estate Plan
Estate plans can be Will-based or trust-based. You can establish a trust that funnels most, or all, of your property to beneficiaries without going through probate. Your heirs usually receive their inheritance more quickly. Trusts also offer other benefits, like asset protection or tax reduction.
It is still possible an angry heir might challenge the trust instead of your Will. However, it is far less likely.
Learn More About Avoiding a Will Contest.
At Virtus Law, the attorneys provide advice based on years of real life experience. We assist clients like you develop an estate plan that fits their life circumstances. To set up an appointment, call us at 612.888.1000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, with other offices located in Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.