How can you minimize the risk that your estate plan will be challenged?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Contested Wills & Trusts

Making an estate plan takes time, money and a great deal of thought. Hence, if you could look down from on high after your death and see someone contesting your will or trust, you’d likely be upset. Not only might you be disappointed that someone is questioning your intentions and causing problems for others in your family, but you might feel disappointed you had not done more to prevent this kind of thing from occurring.

You can never rule out the chance someone will choose to contest your will – as people can act strangely when money is at stake. But you can minimize the risk that this will happen.

Explain your decisions to people

If you have three children and split everything equally between them, it’s unlikely any of them will have cause to contest matters. It’s when splits are unequal that people may get upset. You may have a good reason for an unequal split. For example, one child has special needs and requires more help. Or one child has built up so much wealth they do not need your money. Or perhaps you have just fallen out with one of them to the degree you do not want to leave them anything. In all cases, explaining your motives now reduces the chance that someone will be left confused about why it happened, perhaps wondering if the other beneficiaries manipulated you.

Consider a no-contest clause

A no-contest clause can make people think twice about challenging your wishes. Under Indiana law, they risk losing anything you had allocated them if they lose their contest.

Finally, you must ensure your estate plan will stand up in court. Getting help to ensure all documentation is legally compliant reduces the chance of errors or omissions that can leave an avenue open for those looking to challenge your wishes.