Most often, the beneficiaries of your will do not become aware of how you have determined your property will be distributed until after you have passed away.
And despite your best efforts at creating a strong family dynamic, sometimes, after you pass away certain people believe you should have done something different with your property. The result – a “will contest.”
A “will contest” can come in many forms.
Usually the person who is upset about your will claims that you were wrongly influenced to make the decisions you made in your will.
This likely will lead to a long, expensive, court battle over what everyone else thinks you meant when you created your will – exactly the opposite result you had in mind when you had your will drafted.
So what can you do to try to stop this?
- Be transparent. While you are in the process of having your will drafted, keep all of the beneficiaries informed about your wishes for what you want to happen after you pass.
- Be honest. Although it may be uncomfortable, the likelihood of a “will contest” is reduced greatly when all of your beneficiaries know exactly why you are making the decisions you are making.
- Be thorough. Make sure you document, either with the help of an attorney or other professional, your wishes and the efforts you have made to keep everyone in the loop. If all of your beneficiaries know what you want to do, then their ability to claim ignorance after you pass away greatly diminishes.
Ultimately, you cannot completely ensure that someone will not challenge your will, but if you follow these three steps, then the chances that your will becomes the subject of a “will contest” are significantly reduced.