Tips for Writing an Ironclad Will
When a person passes away, emotions can run high. Grieving family and friends are often overwhelmed with stress, sadness, and anxiety, especially when there is a funeral to plan and an estate to settle. That’s why it is absolutely critical to have a strong, incontestable will in place that clearly designates your intentions for every single one of your assets, tangible and intangible. There is much more that goes into creating a strong will that your attorney can help you with. Read on for some tips on creating an ironclad will.
1. Include Mental Health Validation
If you are concerned at all about your will being contested, start by scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist. Even if you don’t regularly receive treatment for a mental health condition, you can speak with a psychiatrist who can verify that you are in full control of your facilities. A mental health validation can be included with your will to verify that you were of totally sound mind when you wrote it and made your decisions. This will make it much more difficult for anyone to undermine your will in the future.
2. Find a Good Attorney
One of the most key elements of creating a strong will is enlisting the help of an experienced estates attorney. You will want to work with someone who has drafted wills in the past and understands the entire process well. That way, you can rest assured that your will will cover each and every one of your assets and that all of your legal documents will be properly filed. Documentation can be complicated, so working with a professional is critical.
3. Add a No-Contest Clause
If you are worried that your will may be contested, consider a no-contest clause. This clause will make it so that if a beneficiary challenges your will and loses, they will no longer be entitled to their inheritance. This decrease the likelihood of the will being challenged. Many people choose to include these clauses because they want to ensure there is no conflict between beneficiaries and that their intentions are respected and honored. Settling an estate can cause issues between friends and family, so including a no-contest clause is a good way to try to discourage anyone from challenging the will.
4. Consider Undue Influence
Wills can easily be challenged if it seems apparent that they have been drafted under the undue influence of another person. This might be possible in the case of an elderly person who lives with and depends upon their adult child, for example. If there is any indication you were subject to pressure, your will could be contested in probate court. If you think an heir could make a claim like this against a specific person and want to ensure that you have made your decisions free of influence, ask that individual not to be present during your meetings with your estate planning attorney.
5. Talk to Friends and Family
Depending on your specific situation, people may have strong feelings about your choices. Inheritance can cause spouses and children to clash and argue, especially if there is a high value attached to anything, whether that be personal or financial. The best way to head off arguments is by speaking candidly with your loved ones about your intentions. Let them know what you are planning and ask for their opinions if you want to consider them. You might be surprised by what you learn, and it might actually make it even easier to designate beneficiaries. Your attorney can help you communicate effectively with your heirs in a collaborative way with the goal of making sure everyone is happy as possible while also respecting your decisions.
If you are concerned your will might be contested, reach out to an experienced estates attorney. They can help you examine your specific case, evaluate your assets, and put together all of the necessary documents to protect your will in probate court. You should be able to decide what happens to your belongings after your passing. Make sure that you have an ironclad will in place early on in life, and revisit it from time to time as your circumstances change.