We Listen.

Avoiding Will Contests – How To Prepare For The Worst

Have you thought about disinheriting a child or grandchild?
Do you intent to “write” an heir out of your will who might expect an inheritance?
Are you leaving one child more than another child?
Do you children have radically different needs and you are considering an unequal distribution or gift to your children?

If you answer yes to any of these questions then your estate planning may not be as simple as you think. And, it is vitally important that you read this brief article and consider some of the options because all of these factors have lead and regularly result in will contests.

First, you may need an attorney that practices regularly if not exclusively in the area of trust and estates planning – a “will lawyer.” Why? Will contests can be expensive, time consuming and very disruptive to family relationships. An experienced lawyer will give you all of your options and will take precautions to ensure that your capacity is documented, that you wishes get carried out, and that family relationships can be preserved whenever possible.

Next, consider making a gift to a person who you might have initially left out of the will. This reduces the likelihood that the omission will be viewed as a mistake. And, if you also include a special no contest clause in your will the party being given a gift has an incentive not to attack the document.

Such clauses typically provide that if a beneficiary challenges the will or trust, that they lose any gift to to them under the terms of the document. However, a child who is left nothing has no incentive to hold back and a contest is more likely.

It is also important to document that you have capacity to make the will and that you are not being influence by a family another member. We have a practice of asking a series of questions of each client, before the will’s witnesses to insure that the witnesses have an opportunity to verify that you know what you are doing, that all of the formalities are being observed, that the will is not invalid and that you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol that might diminish your ability to understand everything that is occurring.

In this way, we can discourage will contest, and if they occur, we can minimize the likelihood of success of the challenger and make sure that your wishes are actually carried out.

More to follow on avoiding a challenge to your will:
Consider a pour over will
Fund the trust
Coordinate with non probate assets
Get evidence from a doctor when desirable
Improve family communication
Consider a memorandum

610-933-8069
Call Donna Brownback for an appointment or more information.
Mention the web site to receive more resources for clients and executors.

Share on Social Media
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Email

Leave a Reply

Sophisticated, Responsive and Focused.

  • “At Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, the client’s objective is never lost in the details and as a result, even complex deals get done quickly and efficiently..."

    Read More...

  • “Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has been a tremendous resource to me and my team throughout the past 17+ years. This highly-talented group delivers the...”

    Read More...

  • “Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has been a trusted source of advice and counsel on all levels of governmental law and regulation, from zoning and land use...”

    Read More...

  • "Our Trust Department has utilized Unruh Turner Burke & Frees’ expertise for several years to assist our clients with their overall estate plans. They..."

    Read More...

  • “Over the last 25 years Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has represented our residential building and development enterprise in many capacities including real..."

    Read More...

  • "Based on my long-term relationship with Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, I can wholeheartedly recommend its services to any business owner who wishes to work with...”

    Read More...

  • “We recently hired Unruh Turner Burke & Frees to handle a conditional use application for our Chestnut Street Lofts apartment project in downtown West Chester..."

    Read More...

  • “I have been working with Unruh Turner Burke & Frees for many years. They have provided legal counsel in the areas of Estate Planning, Land Use, Litigation and...”

    Read More...

  • “I have relied on the firm's legal advice to make critical decisions on handling family wealth and making appropriate decisions for my family's future.”

    Read More...

  • “… This highly-talented group delivers the highest quality legal work and brings real-world experience in a very cost-effective manner…”

    Read More...

  • "If there is an issue facing a municipality, Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is the source for sound guidance and direction.”

    Read More...

  • “…They have provided legal counsel in the areas of Estate Planning, Land Use, Litigation and Real Estate. In every one of those areas I have been blessed with great ...”

    Read More...

  • "Whether we are competing in a strong market or working through a declining market, it has always been reassuring to know that Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has both..."

    Read More...

meet our elite team
West Chester, PA
17 West Gay Street
P.O. BOX 515
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 692-1371
Phoenixville, PA
120 Gay Street
P.O. Box 289
Phoenixville, PA 19460
(610) 933-8069
Paoli, PA
43 Leopard Road, Building II
Suite 302
Paoli, PA 19301
(610) 240-0750