When you create a will, your intent is to express your last wishes, including who you want to receive your possessions. However, there may be individuals who want to go against these desires and contest your will once you decease.
While you cannot be here personally to fight them off, you can take measures to try and prevent contestation.
1. Clearly express your intentions
One of the key factors that can lead to disputes is ambiguity in your will, so you want to make sure your language and intentions are clear. Clearly identify your beneficiaries and the distribution of your assets to leave no room for misinterpretation. Consider leaving behind a letter or a video explaining in detail why you made your decisions or explaining them ahead of time in person so there can be no question that you were not certain or clear of mind.
There may be people who claim you simply forgot to include them. You can circumvent this by granting them a token amount and explaining that they will receive nothing else. You can also include a no-contest clause so that they will lose what they do receive if they contest the will.
2. Secure unbiased witnesses
Credible witnesses can add an extra layer of protection to your will. When you sign your will, ensure that individuals who are not beneficiaries and who have no personal interest in the distribution of your assets watch. Their presence can strengthen the legitimacy of your document and help prevent claims that the will is a forgery or you suffered from coercion.
3. Update your will regularly
Life is dynamic, and circumstances change. Ensure your will reflects these changes by updating it regularly. Births, deaths, marriages and divorces are events that can impact your distribution plan. By staying current, you decrease the likelihood of disputes arising due to outdated information.
According to USA Today, the number of individuals over age 70 with a proper will is in decline. Having a will can help protect your loved ones’ future, but people may be able to exploit a poorly constructed one. A carefully crafted will with preventative measures can help ensure the carrying out of your will, providing peace of mind for both you and your heirs.