All of your meticulous estate planning could come to naught if someone is successful in contesting your will. So, is there any way to make that doesn’t happen?
First of all, you need to know that the only time a contest is considered is when someone’s spouse, children or anyone listed as a beneficiary of a will wants to challenge the legal validity of the estate plan. So, your family members cannot contest your will simply because they disagree with or are angered by the way you’ve chosen to distribute your assets upon your death.
However, if you don’t take precautions, you may leave your family with grounds to contest your estate plan. Below, we explain the reasons a will can be contested in Utah and how to avoid that outcome.
If you don’t sign your will in front of two witnesses and have your witnesses sign as well, your estate plan may be contested. To ensure the document is drafted in accordance with Utah law, you may want to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Your family may contest your will on the grounds that you didn’t have a sound mind when you created your estate plan. Utah law only requires you to be able to identify your assets and beneficiaries and understand the effect of writing a will – but your estate planning attorney may advise you to obtain medical documentation or make a video as you sign the will.
If you have a live-in caretaker – or if another individual has a high level of sway over your decisions – you will may be contested on the grounds of undue influence. Preparing evidence to the contrary may be necessary, and an experienced estate planning attorney can provide you with advice on how to approach that task.
Making sure your will is properly executed and taking the precautions suggested by your estate planning attorney can help prevent a contest – but you can also opt to set up a revocable living trust instead of writing a will.
With a living trust, you’ll have access to and control over your assets until your death, at which point they’ll be distributed to your chosen beneficiaries on your terms. Your estate won’t have to go through the probate process and, in most cases, revocable trusts cannot be contested. To move any assets you’ve forgotten to name to the trust at your death, however, you may also want to have your estate planning attorney draft a pour-over will.
The peace of mind that comes with knowing that your final wishes will be honored upon your death is priceless. An experienced estate planning attorney – like the legal team at Shultz and Kellar, serving northeast Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area – can make sure that your assets are passed along as you prefer.
For more advice on preventing your family from contesting your will, contact Schultz and Kellar to schedule a free estate planning consultation today.