How to Avoid Challenges to Wills and Trusts, Continued

How to Avoid Challenges to Wills and Trusts, Continued

Here are several additional ways to prevent disputes over your estate.

Consider putting a no contest clause in your will.

If you suspect that one of your children, or his or her spouse, might make trouble over your will, a no contest clause can help avoid potential problems. In essence, this clause makes the risk of challenging your will outweigh the potential benefit of doing so. A no contest clause typically stipulates that if a beneficiary contests the will’s validity or its provisions, his or interest in the will is forfeited. Of course, you have to leave the heir in question enough of an inheritance to motivate him or her not to challenge the will.

Prove that you are of sound mind.

This might sound “crazy,” but it’s not. Challenges to wills often involve allegations that the maker of the will (the testator) was not of sound mind when the will was signed. This tactic is particularly common when changes have been made to the will shortly before the testator’s death. You can help prevent this type of challenge by obtaining an evaluation from a treating physician and a psychiatrist right before you sign or make changes to your will.

If you are going to disinherit someone, make sure it is noted clearly in your will.

Our children can and sometimes do disappoint us. Sadly, the level of disappointment may be so severe, the behavior so egregious, that the only solution seems to be disinheriting the son, daughter, or grandchild entirely. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure your decision is noted in your will. You don’t want to give a reason for your decision, as this could become the foundation for a potential lawsuit. However, you need to make it clear that your decision was intentional.