In our practice we have the experiences representing Executors that are necessary to help present clients avoid future problems occurring after death. Everyone wants and expects that their wishes as set out in their Last Will will be followed and will be properly carried out. In some cases, clients want to divide their estate in a way that might not follow the traditional “family line.”
As a result, we know that this might not sit well with all of the beneficiaries when the time comes to divide the estate. Those beneficiaries might be so upset or might have such a substantial economic stake that they might consider contesting the will. A Will contest will likely be very expensive and time consuming. We should take steps now to avoid that future possibility.
There are a number of things that can be done to head off potential will contests. One such measure is to actually address the issue now with those who will be impacted. This is a surprisingly novel idea. Many people are reluctant to talk about their Wills with their children or loved ones, especially with those who might be negatively impacted by the Will contents.
However, giving the impacted beneficiary or beneficiaries notice of the intentions in advance of death, you can pre-address the common arguments made by those contesting wills. Common bases of will contests are lack of capacity or undue influence. If you address and defeat these and other arguments now, you can virtually eliminate the will contest option for the omitted or affected beneficiary. This is not to say other options such as the Interrorum Clause should not be utilized, but this might be a practical solution to a forseeable problem.
If you would like to review potential will contest issues or other planning concerns, please call or contact Douglas L. Kaune.
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