The point of having a will is to ensure that your last wishes will be carried out and fulfilled after your passing. But, your will and testament will be pointless once someone in your family has successfully contested it. If your will has been contested, it will become invalid, and some of the clauses in your will may change.
Fortunately, you can prevent someone from challenging your will. In this article, we will discuss how you can avoid a contest to your will so that all your final intentions will be fulfilled.
Who Is Eligible to Contest a Will?
Contesting your will cannot be done by just anyone. The only eligible individuals that can contest your will are your spouse, children, or the people you’ve included in your will or codicil. These individuals must file a contest during the probate process or the court procedure that enacts a will so that they can contest your will. However, it will not be that easy because they need a valid reason in order to contest your will.
What Are the Valid Reasons to Contest a Will?
Contesting a will cannot simply be done. The eligible individual cannot go to court to contest your will just because they disagree with it, are left out of it, or are hurt or angry about the will’s contents. They must have a solid, valid reason for the court to agree that the will can be contested. Here are some of the valid grounds for them to contest your will:
If your will is not correctly executed, eligible individuals can definitely contest your will. You will face execution problems if you have failed to sign your will, there are no witnesses, and if not completed properly according to local laws. So, make sure you have a real estate lawyer with you while executing your will.
Another valid reason for the challenger to contest your will is if you were mentally incapacitated when you signed the will. If you think this may be used against you, talk to your lawyer. They may advise you to videotape the signing or obtain medical documentation.
Fraud and Undue Influence
If you have been forced or have no idea you are signing a will because someone deceived you, it may be a ground to contest your will. If this is your case, talk to your lawyer so they can help you prepare evidence.
How Can You Prevent a Contest to Your Will?
The best way to prevent a contest to your will is to talk to your lawyer. This way, they can guide you on adequately executing your will following the law. It would also help if you could talk to your heirs regarding the contents of your will so there will be no conflict in the future. Give them a chance to talk things over with you and understand your reasoning so that contesting your last intentions will not be necessary.
You can also prevent contests to your will by having a living trust. If you have this, your assets will be placed into a trust during your lifetime, but you can still use and spend your assets and money. Upon your death, your assets will be distributed to your trust beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust.
Contesting your will can be an exhausting process for your beneficiaries, and it may be an insult for you because your final wishes will not be honoured. If you want to prevent a contest to your will, make sure to take a few precautions and always talk to a lawyer who can guide you throughout the process.
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