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After you die, your estate has to go through the probate process before anyone can receive your assets. If someone decides to contest your will, it can drag on the probate process and makes things more stressful for everyone involved. You don’t want that to happen. Luckily, you can take steps to prevent someone from contesting your will. Consider the following tips.
Don’t Wait to Draft an Estate Plan
Too many people put off creating an estate plan because they are relatively young and healthy. They assume that they can wait until they get older. However, life can be unpredictable. That is why it is critical to establish an estate plan when you are of sound mind. Your plan will clearly state your final wishes and help avoid confusion, which can reduce the risk of someone contesting your will.
Talk About Your Estate Plan with Family Members
There is nothing wrong with discussing your estate plan ahead of time with your family members. In fact, doing so can be quite beneficial. If you explain the reasons behind your decisions, your family members may be more understanding and not contest your will in the future. For example, if one of your children has more financial struggles than the rest, you may decide to give him or her a larger inheritance.
Don’t Forget About Your Estate Plan
An estate plan is rarely a one and done deal. It is necessary for most people to update their estate plans multiple times in their lives. After all, it’s normal for the circumstances in your life to change. Whenever you experience a major life change, it’s important to review your estate plan. Doing so can help prevent someone from contesting your will in the future.
Consider a No-Contest Clause
If you’re concerned about someone contesting your will, it may be wise to include a no-contest clause in your estate plan. The provision states that anyone who attempts to challenge your estate plan will not receive an inheritance. It can definitely deter people from filing a lawsuit to challenge your will.
Obtain a Competency Evaluation Report
If others believe that you weren’t mentally competent when you signed your will, they may decide to contest your will. An effective way to avoid this is to complete a competency evaluation report with a psychologist. Since a psychologist is an educated and trained professional, his or her evaluation will be taken seriously.
Hire an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
While it is possible to draft your will on your own, it is not in your best interest to do this. These are complicated legal documents, and it’s easy to make mistakes. That is why it pays to go to an experienced estate planning lawyer. He or she can make sure that your will is properly executed and clearly states your wishes.