Will Preparation: Three Practical Tips on Preventing Contesting Problems

25 May 2018
 Categories: Law, Blog


Numerous people assume that a valid will cannot be contested after death. Unfortunately, this is a misconception. In general, there is legislation which allows eligible family members to contest the will if they feel that they were treated unfairly in the distribution of property. For example, a child who is excluded from their parent's will might be able to contest the document. Therefore, if you are planning your estate, you should be cautious to avoid leaving loopholes which could be exploited. Here are practical tips to help you prevent the problems associated with contesting a will. 

Restructure Your Assets

You should think about changing the structure of your assets such that they are not considered to be part of your state. If you plan carefully, the property will be passed on to your loved ones without the possibility of contesting. For example, you should consider choosing a joint ownership structure. Simply speaking, if you hold real estate property together with another person as joint tenants, the asset will be automatically passed down to them after your death. The process will not reference the will, so there is no risk of contest. The same case applies to joint bank accounts.

Transfer Your Assets

You should consider transferring some of your assets to your family members while you are alive. This process is effective because the eligible applicants cannot contest the distribution of property if it is not in your name. However, you should be cautious when employing this strategy. The transfer of property can look suspicious and be thwarted if it occurs within certain timeframes in relation to your death. You should check if there are restrictions and provisions made in relation to this issue in your state of residence. Also, you should remember that transferring your property to another party while you are alive can hold some risk. The person receiving the assets might take off with the wealth and fail to provide support in your time of need.

Seek Counsel When Drafting Your Will

The most obvious strategy for preventing the contesting of your will is to seek legal counsel when drafting the will. Often, people choose to prepare the document by following their own thoughts and feelings. As a result, numerous areas are left vulnerable and open to challenge. A wills and estate lawyer can help you take precautions against contests and provide counsel on making adequate provision for family members who might be eligible to challenge the will.