How to Prevent Family From Contesting Your Will

Depending on your personal circumstances, your family members may attempt to alter your will after death. How can you stop this from happening?

Facing your mortality is never an easy thing to do. The very thought of not being around for your family when they need you is challenging for even the strongest people. However, if you have assets and wishes for those assets, creating an end-of-life plan is essential.

There is never any guarantee that those closest to you will make sure your preferences and wishes are carried out. There is even a risk that some of your wishes will be contested by your loved ones. However, by doing the following things, you may be able to reduce the risk of that happening.

Create an End-of-Life Plan

If you’ve only spoken to a select few family members about what you wish to happen when you pass, it can make it much harder for your wish to be granted. Plans that aren’t set in stone, such as those not put into an end-of-life plan, can simply be viewed as off-the-cuff comments.

If you have firm views about your last wishes, assets, and even body preparation, create a written plan. While your family doesn’t necessarily have to follow that plan, they can at least be aware of your exact wishes and do their best to let them play out.

Include a No-Contest Clause

While you’re planning your last wishes, you might decide to make some potentially controversial decisions into a will. For example, you may choose to donate your car to a charity or give one child more money than the others.

While some family members may view your decisions as unfair, you can insert a no-contest clause to deter anyone from going against your wishes. This clause means that if anyone challenges your will, they don’t receive anything from your estate.

Consider a Revocable Living Trust

An end-of-life plan can help make sure your family knows where to find your important documents and understand your preferences for your body and assets. However, you can also look at revocable living trusts if you are stressed about the prospect of family contesting your wishes.

A revocable living trust allows you to put all your assets into a trust while you are alive. When you pass, they are given to trust beneficiaries according to your trust’s terms. Since they don’t go through a probate process like wills, they are seldom contested.

Avoid Surprises

Many people keep the details of their will or end of life plan secret until they die. If some of your wishes will surprise some people, there may be a risk of them being contested. To reduce that risk, consider informing your family of your intentions and why you have made the decisions you have while you’re still alive.

For example, if you are leaving one family member significantly more money than another so they can study, explain your reasoning. This way, they will be less likely to question why your assets weren’t divvied out evenly.

Just as there are no guarantees in life, there are also none in death. You may never be able to prevent your family member from contesting your end-of-life wishes. However, there are certainly plenty of ways you can reduce the risk. Have your wishes written out clearly, look at your trust options, and if you think it’s necessary, include a no-contest clause in your will.

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