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3 ways to avoid a contested will

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Estate Planning

man signing last will and testament

Few people know when their end of life will come, which makes estate planning a vital tool in ensuring that what you have built goes where you want.

According to a Caring.com study, only 33% of Americans have a will or trust in place. If you can count yourself in that category, these tips may help ensure that your plans unfold without a loved one contesting your will.

1. Include a no-contest clause

A no-contest clause provides a potential deterrent for people who want to contest a will. This clause means that anyone who files a lawsuit must win it. If they do not, they have to forfeit receiving anything from your estate. The chances of getting nothing often trump the risk of trying to get more.

2. Keep it private

A claim of undue influence can happen when an interested party assumes that a loved one used their caretaker’s duties to take advantage of you. To avoid the appearance of undue influence, ensure that you attend all planning, drafting and signing sessions alone. That includes not having a beneficiary drive you to your attorney’s office.

3. Videotape the signing

When it comes time to sign the will, do it alone and record it. As you sign, consider verbally explaining why you have made your decisions. This evidence makes it hard to contest or prove any undue influence.

While you hope your family heeds your desires, factors such as grief, loss and family dynamics may lead to tensions. Proper estate planning offers a way to prevent or limit that from happening.

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