No family wants to go through the agony of a will contest. Unfortunately these disputes are sometimes unavoidable.
Any number of disagreements can arise during the process of administering a will after a family member dies. Some of these disputes center around whether a person had the mental capacity to make or change a will, whether there was undue influence by another person, or whether key provisions in a will are ambiguous. The goal for most families – aside from avoiding the dispute altogether – is to settle it efficiently and cost-effectively while keeping family relationships in tact.
It is helpful to consider some ways to avoid will contests, and what to do if you find yourself in the middle of a dispute.
Avoiding a Will Contest
There are a few things you can do to help avoid potential issues from arising:
- Avoid do-it-yourself wills: Generic, do-it-yourself wills can be problematic. They may save time and money initially, but can lead to disputes in the future. They are often the cause of litigation down the road.
- Communicate: Keep lines of communication open in regard to final wishes and estate planning. It is not necessary to go into great detail, but open communication with your family now can help avoid disputes in the future. If your relatives know what you intended beforehand, they are less likely to be surprised and suspicious, and, therefore, less likely to challenge your estate plan.
- Keep your estate plan updated: Some people create an estate plan and never update it. However, an estate plan is meant to be updated as circumstances change. It is important to make sure your estate plan is updated and reflects your current life circumstances.
Resolving a Will Contest
Disputes that arise during the administration of a will can be emotionally, personally, and financially challenging.
Depending on the nature of your dispute, you may wish to speak to an attorney. A family dispute can be difficult or impossible to settle without an objective outside voice. An experienced attorney can help guide the dispute in the right direction, offering you advice and counsel along the way.
Talk to an attorney today: If you wish to speak to an attorney about resolving a will contest , please call Chenoweth Law Group PC, at 503.446.6261.