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4 Tips for Avoiding Estate Contests for Kane County Residents

 Posted on April 29, 2022 in Divorce / Family Law

geneva estate planning lawyerEstate contests can be messy. When a will or trust is questioned and challenged, it affects every beneficiary. These conflicts have been known to precipitate rifts between family members that may never heal. You probably want estate administration to be easy for your beneficiaries so that they can accept their gifts and remember you fondly. When someone calls the validity of your estate plan into question, the dispute can take years to resolve in some cases. This type of litigation can also become extremely costly for all involved. Fortunately, there are ways to substantially reduce the odds of an estate contest. If you suspect that there may be any conflict, you should alert your estate planning lawyer so they can take additional steps to prevent a challenge.

Ways to Prevent Potential Future Challenges to Your Estate Plan 

Even if you think that your intended beneficiaries will get along and administer your estate in good faith, you cannot predict what could happen after you have become incapacitated or passed away. Some tips for creating a strong estate plan include: 

  • Explain yourself - If there is a family member who you wish to disinherit, simply omitting their name from your estate plan may not be good enough. It could open the door for them to allege that there was an accidental omission or that you must not have had the capacity to make an estate plan given that you forgot someone. Your lawyer may advise you to explicitly state in your estate planning documents that you are disinheriting that person and why.

  • Do not DIY - While "do it yourself" estate planning kits are widely available, using one can backfire. Without a lawyer who can help establish proof that you had testamentary capacity and were not coerced - and that your will or trust is genuine - it can be much easier for someone to bring a challenge.

  • Medical evidence - If you are making your estate plan later in life, the odds of a capacity-based challenge are much higher. You may want to visit a doctor, who can provide documentation that you are of sound mind and able to make rational decisions regarding your estate.

  • Discretion - One very common ground for challenging a will is undue influence. Undue influence means that one individual - usually someone you spend a lot of time with, like an adult child who still lives locally - somehow pressured you to favor them. Do not bring this person to your lawyer’s office to do your estate planning. It may even be better to simply not tell anyone what you are doing.

Even the best-made will or trust can still be challenged, but following these tips can greatly reduce the odds that this will happen to you.

Contact a Kane County Estate Planning Lawyer

Loire Krajniak Law, LLC is skilled at creating strong estate plans that can stand up to scrutiny. Our experienced Geneva estate planning attorneys will work with you to reduce the likelihood of a contest in the future. Call 630-448-2406 for a free consultation.



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