How to Avoid a Contested Estate Using Wills and Trusts

Estate plans accomplish many things, including ensuring  your actual wishes are seen through as you wanted them to be. Also, that there will be no battles about your intentions between your beneficiaries. Ultimately, when a person decides to put a comprehensive estate plan together, they are doing so because they want their wealth to be distributed properly and with little to no issue.

Making sure that your estate plan is sound and exhibits your intentions is critical. The Northbrook estate planning lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. can help. If you are concerned about a contested estate, there are actions you can take.

Why Would An Estate Plan Be Contested?

Even with all the components of an estate plan in place, there is the potential that it could be contested. The following reasons may lead to this taking place:

● The documents were believed to be false and fraudulent and therefore not legally binding
● It is believed that the person who had their plan put in place was not doing so voluntarily and was bullied or blackmailed into their decisions
● There was an updated version of a will found
● It is believed the person who put their will together was not of sound mind and they did not understand what they were doing

What Steps Can You Do to Avoid a Contest?

There are proactive steps you can take that may protect your final directives including:

● Do not wait to establish a plan. The sooner you get it started the better. You can always adjust it and update it as you go or as life changes, and you should. This can better protect you from contests that claim you did not have a mental capacity to understand what was happening when you made your will.
● If you have a no-contest clause included in your will or trust this could greatly discourage a person from filing a suit that challenges your final wishes. This is so because the clause will state that a person who takes legal action will be excluded from receiving anything from your estate should they lose. It is a risk to consider.
● Talk candidly to your beneficiaries about what you chose to include in your estate plan. This way, when it is time, there are not going to be any unanticipated surprises. Someone who is shocked by the outcome of your will or trust may be inclined to retaliate.
● While a will is public, a revocable living trust is not. A will does not begin until your death. But a living document, such as is the case with a revocable living trust, will be active throughout the course of your life and then after you have passed on.
● Do a yearly check on your will or trust to see if either needs to be updated. This will ensure that the most current of your wishes are reflected in your final documents.
● If you are concerned about a beneficiary that you do not think will be responsible for the proceeds from your passing, consider a lifetime trust. These trusts may help to motivate that beneficiary to make better life choices.

Speak to a Northbrook Estate Planning Lawyer Today

At Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd., our Northbrook will and trust attorneys have helped many local residents preserve their wealth for more than three decades. Contact Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. today at 847-325-5559 to learn how we can assist you.

Updated as of July 2019
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