When it comes to ensuring that your wishes unfold the way you want after you pass away, taking steps to minimize the likelihood of a contested will is important.
While no approach can guarantee absolute immunity from challenges, there are practical measures you can adopt to reduce the chances.
1. Clearly define your beneficiaries
One of the primary reasons for a contested will is ambiguity regarding the intended beneficiaries. To avoid this, ensure that you explicitly state the names of your beneficiaries, their relationship to you, and the portion of your estate you want them to have.
2. Choose witnesses wisely
Witnesses play a crucial role in validating your will. Select individuals who are not beneficiaries and have no personal interests in the distribution of your assets. Make sure they are of legal age, and they should ideally be someone who is likely to outlive you to testify if necessary.
3. Keep your will updated
Life is ever-changing, and so are your circumstances. To minimize the risk of contests, review and update your will regularly, especially after significant life events like marriages, divorces, births, or deaths in the family.
4. Record your decision-making process
Documenting the rationale behind your distribution decisions can provide insight into your intentions. By keeping records, you show that your decisions were deliberate and not influenced by external factors. This can discourage potential challengers who may want to question your mental capacity or the authenticity of your will.
As one of the 34% of Americans with an estate plan, you know the importance of planning ahead. Knowing that the loss of a loved one affects people differently, taking measures to reinforce your plans may help eliminate extra tension.