Most people consider estate planning as a comprehensive process and do not give much thought to the risk of loved ones contesting the will. Unfortunately, contesting a will is easier than you might think. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the chances of a problem.
A couple of proactive steps can protect your will from a legal contest.
Identify those you are not leaving anything to
If you have close family members that may be expecting an inheritance, make sure you name them in your will and clearly state that you are not leaving them anything. This eliminates the risk that they could contest the will on the grounds of an oversight. When you address them specifically, it is clear that you did not overlook them.
Consider a no-contest clause
Ask your estate planning attorney about adding a no-contest clause to your will. This clause, enforceable in most states, details your wish that the will not be subject to contest. If anyone in your family is considering filing a contest, this clause could prevent the case from reaching the court. The party contesting the will loses any inheritance by filing that legal contest.
Protect your family from the legal challenge of a contested will by taking steps to preserve your estate plan. Your attorney can guide you through other means for ensuring that your will and estate plan remain valid and enforceable. This reduces the risk of a contest and ensures that your family gets the inheritance you wish for them.