You do not want to leave your loved ones squabbling over your estate when you are gone. It’s probably one of the reasons you have a will. However, do not assume that the probate process will be a smooth affair and that everyone will go home happy.
A family member could decide to contest the will. When this happens, and they are successful, the court will set aside your will. Your estate will be divided differently, according to state laws. How can you prevent this?
Explain your decision to the beneficiaries
A will does not have to be secret. You can let your loved ones in on your intentions and why you have decided who gets what. It will prevent nasty surprises when the will is read, which can whip up emotions and increase the chances of a contest.
Include a no-contest clause
A no-contest clause provides that if the beneficiary loses the case, they will also lose their share of the estate. Including such a clause in your will can discourage an unnecessary contest.
Explore other options
A will is not the only way of transferring your estate to loved ones. Other estate planning tools can help you achieve similar objectives, such as a trust. Considering all your options and viable alternatives can help you find a solution.
Prepare for any eventuality
While this may not necessarily prevent a contest, it will ensure that your will remains valid when challenged in probate court. You can do this by sealing the legal loopholes that may be exploited, such as the lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence, among other requirements.
Going the extra mile to prove your competency when making the will makes it difficult to have it revoked on such grounds.