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How An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help Avoid A Will Contest



When you pass away, one of your foremost goals should be to ensure that your family is able to divide up your belongings according to proper legal paperwork and planning. The last thing you want is for rifts to open between your loved ones. This is why people leave wills to be read after their deaths, legally explaining how the loved ones should divide up the estate.

Problems can still arise, however. Will contests occur when potential heirs or beneficiaries think they deserve more than what you laid out for them. Common grounds for contesting your last will include:

  • Claims that the will was improperly prepared
  • Claims that you, the decedent, did not have the mental capacity to write the will
  • Claims of fraud or undue influence
  • Claims of forgery

If the will contest is seen to be successful, the entire will may be invalidated and other laws will apply. If you want to ensure that your last will is executed according to your wishes, you should hire an estate planning attorney to plan for potential will contests.

How A Lawyer Can Help

If you have an objective attorney review your estate plan documents, including your last will, your lawyer may be able to ensure that everything is properly prepared and filed with your city, county or state. A lawyer's signature may do much to confirm a lack of fraud or forgery in the preparation of the will.

Your estate planning lawyer can also help you write a provision in your will that punishes any unsuccessful will challengers. This is a common way to prevent people from even attempting to contest your will as they may worry about getting nothing at all if they fail.

A lawyer can put you in touch with a legal medical specialist who will testify that you were in full possession of your mental facilities when you drew up and executed your last will. This will go a long way toward preventing any claims of mental illness, dementia or other age-related mental capacity issues.

Finally, a lawyer can serve as a mediator between family members after your death. Unofficial mediation may reduce the needs for a formal contest that may potentially invalidate your entire will.

If you are concerned with ensuring that your will is properly executed after you die, you should definitely hire an estate planning attorney to review your will. The risks are nonexistent, and the potential benefits for your family's cohesion following your death are too important to pass up.