There is no easy way to know for sure whether a will is at risk of being contested after a testator passes away. This is especially true in cases where a person drafts a will many decades in advance of his or her death and does not change it to account for alterations in relationships or assets. Fortunately, there are a few warning signs that testators can keep an eye out for when planning their estates that could indicate whether a family fight is brewing. To learn more about how to protect your own estate from being contested, or if you are concerned that a loved one’s will does not actually reflect his or her wishes, it is critical to contact an experienced contested estates attorney who is well-versed in state law and can address your estate-related questions and concerns.
One of the biggest signs that your family could be in for a fight after your death is the existence of sibling rivalry. It’s not uncommon for siblings to compete with each other over the course of their lives. However, it’s a relatively good indicator, when these rivalries become serious and last for a period of years, that one or more of the parties might disagree with the terms of a will after the testator’s death and may even contest the will’s validity in court. Knowledge of these relationships can go a long way towards accounting for a possible will contest during the estate planning process. Similarly, updating one’s will to account for life changes or changes in relationships is also a good way to avoid conflict and ensure that a testator’s wishes are respected even after death.
Conflicts can also arise between siblings during the execution of a will when there is a significant economic disparity in their financial situations. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the party who is in difficult economic circumstances to desire a large portion of the estate simply because of his or her financial situation. Alternatively, parties who are granted co-ownership of an asset may disagree about its fate, especially if the more affluent individual wants to hold onto the property and wait for its value to increase, while the other party is seeking immediate liquidation out of necessity.
Disinheriting a child or other family member in a will significantly increases the chances that that individual will contest the document. Similarly, leaving unequal bequests can lead to jealousy and conflict that could cause the parties to end up litigating the matter in court. Taking this possibility into consideration from the outset of the estate planning process is critical to preventing a will contest at a later date.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Contested Estates Attorney Today
There are a number of legal strategies that Illinois residents can use to reduce the chances of a serious family disagreement upon a relative’s death. For help exploring these options, please contact one of the dedicated Northbrook contested estates attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law by calling 847-325-5559 today.