You probably figure that whatever you put in your will is final. But depending on your family, and you of all people know your family best, your final wishes might not be taken into consideration the way you hoped they would. A will can be contested in the courts, ending up costing the intended recipients in time and assets from the estate.
When families are not close, or there is some estrangement that has happened, death can bring all the unpleasant feelings to the surface. If a family member feels they have been unfairly left out of a will, or if your family believes your will to have been pressured or coerced, they may bring it to court to protest it.
Who Can Contest?
The only people who can contest a will are people who stand to lose or gain something from the contest. This list includes spouses, both current and ex, children, relatives, and organizations you may have been involved with. Your best bet is to make sure your will is thorough and legally comprehensive.
Make It Legally Binding!
Every state has its own requirements for creating and filing a legally binding will.
Universally, wills must be signed by someone who is “of sound mind” and witnessed by two witnesses. While there’s nothing you can do to absolutely prevent a contested will, you CAN insert a no contest clause which indicates contestants will forfeit any inheritance if they contest and lose or that they must pay the entire legal fees for the contest.
Set up an appointment with a Decatur estate attorney to review your will and make sure your final wishes are enacted!
Posted on behalf of Turner Law, LLC