The estate planning process specified in estate law was meant to make drafting a will (and distributing personal property to heirs and surviving spouse of a deceased person) less complicated. This, however, is not as easy as it seems. Learning the basics of wills and trust and estate planning can be quite difficult. After all, there is more to drafting wills and estate administration than appointing beneficiaries of a deceased loved one.
Estate planning law is something that should be taken very seriously. Setting up a last will and testament is essentially setting up a legal document that can determine how you distribute your assets when you die. As such, it is important to seek legal advice from reliable wills and trust attorneys. Get someone who can explain to you estate planning laws relevant to your specific case and circumstance. Before proceeding, consult first with competent estate planning attorneys.
Drafting last wills and testaments involves legal documents that become crucial only after death. Keep in mind that a will that failed to go through the correct legal process, or one that is supposedly not reflecting the wishes of the testator, could be contested and subject to relevant probate laws. Diligence is necessary to avoid probate, specifically when working on wills and estate plans. In almost any estate planning tool, dealing with probate matters takes time and can be stressful.
Who can contest the will of a decedent?
A family member, business partner, or any individual who has appropriate legal standing to file a lawsuit may try to contest a will in the probate court. Your estate lawyer can explain this in more detail. Oftentimes, they are one of the following:
- Any beneficiary or heir in a current will
- Disinherited beneficiaries or heirs that were named in a previous will
- An individual who was not named in any will but, pursuant to applicable intestacy laws, is eligible to inherit
If a proceeding to contest a will is successful, the court will be referring to a will that was previously drafted. If you pass away and your last will and testament were contested, and no previous versions of such estate planning documents were made, state law will dictate how inheritance shall be decided upon.
How can I write a will that is difficult to contest?
Complications would arise if your will is successfully contested. Make sure to spare your loved ones from having to deal with these. When drafting your will, seek legal help and estate advice from professionals as early as possible. Being supervised by an estate law attorney can help avoid factors that could lead to the invalidation of your will.
An incomplete or faulty will, or one that was not signed with the required number of witnesses or in the required manner, could be contested. Under estate planning law, the same is true if undue influence was exerted or testamentary capacity was lacking while the testator is drafting a will in question.
Drafting wills by yourself may seem simpler. Know as early as now that it is not. Estate lawyers and law offices are there for a reason. Wills and trust law constitute complex legal matters, and a competent estate planning lawyer will help prevent stressful lawsuits your family could face if your will is contestable. As mentioned, the probate process can be quite messy. A tried and tested way to avoid such a mess (and having to pay probate costs) is to consult with an expert on probate law from a trusted law firm in your area.
One way to minimize the likelihood that one of the above would try to contest your will is to not disinherit them.
Inheritance of wayward children or grandchildren can instead be held in a discretionary trust that is overseen by a third party. In certain cases, trusts can be useful particularly in avoiding probate and could provide better asset protection.
Before you create a will, make sure you have an estate planning attorney assisting you and providing legal counsel. Experienced estate attorneys can also provide necessary legal services and make sure that wills and trusts are made following relevant estates law.
Our law office takes pride in our specialization in wills, trusts, and estates. For any questions on probate and estate planning, or even on living wills, types of trusts, or power of attorney, give us a call at (248) 621-8406. Contact us at Entrusted Estate for reliable legal representation and estate planning services.