When making an estate plan, you may need to be aware that people can contest your last wishes. If they’re successful, that could mean that a large portion of your estate is left to someone unintended.
Will contests can happen for many reasons. Here are a few:
1. Beneficiary disagreements over inherited items
While you may try to avoid any family disagreements by making an estate plan and naming beneficiaries, your beneficiaries may be the cause of a dispute. Many disputes happen because beneficiaries are given equal ownership of a property, like a family home. One beneficiary may wish to sell the property while the other may wish to keep it. When this happens, a beneficiary may need to buy out the property to do as they please with it. However, this could lead to a will contest.
2. Disinherited heirs who are angry
When making an estate plan, you have a right to disinherit people. Perhaps you had someone in your will and a recent fight caused you to disinherit them. Or, maybe the beneficiary is irresponsible with money and you wish to have your estate put in good hands. However, a disinherited beneficiary may cause a legal battle to be reinstated.
3. Executor delays that upset your heirs
The executor of the estate is appointed to handle many matters once the testator passes away. Simply put, the executor is responsible for seeing to the testator’s last wishes, contracting interested parties and distributing assets. If the executor delays their duties, then beneficiaries may try to file a contest. For example, they may try to remove the executor on the grounds of negatively impacting the interests of the beneficiaries.
You may need to understand your legal options when making your estate plan to avoid a contest. A contest could seriously upset your grieving friends and family and you may be able to nip it in the bud before that happens.