Why Contested Estates Should Never Happen

One of the most critical goals of an estate plan is to avoid disagreements among beneficiaries about who gets what. Proper estate planning also minimizes the chances there will be a contested estate. Learn more about this critical topic below, then speak to our Lake County estate planning lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson for legal assistance.

You Can Add A No-Contest Clause

Another reason a contested estate should not happen is you can add a no-contest or in terrorem clause. This will provision says that if anyone files suit to contest the estate, that person will receive nothing.

A no-contest clause can be a solid deterrent to someone who thinks they are getting less than they should. So, they can file a lawsuit if they want, but they will get nothing from your estate. Note that no-contest clauses are enforceable in Illinois, but there is an exception in the law that allows the contestant to keep their portion if they contested the will in good faith.

Talk To Your Beneficiaries About Your Plans

A common reason estates are contested is a beneficiary is blindsided when they do not get the inheritance they thought they should. Avoid this problem by communicating your wishes and thinking to your heirs in person. When people hear directly why you made your decisions, there is less chance of a contested estate.

A contested estate is also less likely if you do not tell people that you cut so and so out of your will. Keep any decisions that you have made about your estate plan to the concerned parties only.

Do Not Do It Yourself

If you worry about a contested estate, it is more likely if you try to do your estate planning without a lawyer. This is because only a skilled estate planning lawyer can construct a plan that minimizes the risks of a contested estate.

Set Up A Discretionary Trust

Are you concerned that one of your beneficiaries will squander the money or use it in a way you do not want? Instead of cutting them out of your will, you can require their portion to be held in a discretionary trust. Then, a third party is named as trustee, ensuring the beneficiary will receive what you intended according to your terms.

Review Your Estate Plan Regularly

After you make your estate plan, you can reduce the chances of a contested estate by making changes as needed. Legal experts recommend taking it out annually and reviewing if anything should change.

It is wise to sit down with your estate planning lawyer at least every year to go over it. This sends a strong message to your family; they know you are planning things carefully for when you are gone.

Contact Our Lake County Estate Planning Lawyers

If you are considering estate planning, it is best to do it sooner or later. However, doing estate planning at the last minute or haphazardly can cause problems, including contested estates. Contact our Lake County estate planning lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson today at (847) 325-5559. We can design your estate plan to ensure your assets reach the intended beneficiaries.

Updated as of July 2019
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