Is There An Ironclad Way To Protect Estate From Being Contested?

When you hear ‘estate planning,’ you may think that it is only for older Americans to pass their assets onto their families when they die. However, estate planning has many purposes: protecting families, saving on taxes, securing quality healthcare, and more. Learn about effective estate planning in this article, and if you have questions about estate planning, our top Illinois estate planning attorneys can assist you.

Contesting An Estate In Illinois

Even with solid estate planning, someone may contest your estate. This can happen if a family member is not happy with the terms of the will, and there also may be some objections to a will on specific legal grounds. Some of these grounds are:

  • Undue influence: This means the testator – the person whose will it is – was unduly influenced by someone to write the will in a certain way. The person contesting your estate must prove that someone influenced you to write and sign the will.
  • Fraud: This means that the will was forged. Perhaps the person contesting the estate will claim that someone else signed it or the witness that signed the will was untrustworthy.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity: This would be if you were mentally incompetent when the will was signed and written and did not know what you were signing. Or, you did not remember what was in your estate.

The next steps depend on the circumstances if the will is successfully contested. If you had a will written earlier, the terms of that will would be in effect. The state’s intestate succession laws would apply if there is not another will.

How To Protect Your Estate From Being Contested

To ensure that your desires are met, there are several effective ways to reduce the chances of a contested estate:

Be Complete And Clear In Your Will

A well-constructed will is essential to ensure it is enforceable after you die. Working with a top estate planning attorney in Illinois can ensure the will is comprehensive and ironclad.

Insert A No-Contest Clause

A no-contest clause means that anyone who contests it would forfeit some or all of their share. But this is usually only effective if someone with a stake in your will probably would not contest the will successfully anyway.

Communicate With Your Heirs

It also helps to communicate with family and heirs about your will. Ensuring everyone understands your wishes and thoughts in your estate plan can avoid contention later. If your family knows that you created an estate plan and will, there is less chance that a family member will successfully contest it.

Update Your Estate Plan

It is helpful to review your estate plan every one or two years and update it if there was a significant life change. Doing so reduces the chances that someone could invalidate it.

Contact Our Top Illinois Estate Planning Attorneys

Working with a skilled, experienced estate planning attorney is essential to reduce the chances of a contested will, especially if you have a large estate. If you need assistance with estate planning, our top Illinois estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd., can help, so please call (847) 325-5559.

Updated as of July 2019
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