People draft wills in order to prevent fighting or confusion in regard to their wishes for their estates. However, certain circumstances may lead to estate litigation.
It may be possible to prevent this from occurring. There are a few ways to decrease the possibility of a will contest.
Include targeted provisions
When people suspect that there may be some pushback in regard to their wishes, placing certain provisions in an estate plan may help to keep those contesters at bay. For example, a challenger provision states that beneficiaries who contest a will unsuccessfully forfeit their estate inheritance. Though such provisions may not discourage all contesters, it might cause some parties to reconsider their actions.
Prove mental soundness
Florida statute 732.501 clearly denotes having a sound mind as a requirement for creating a will, amongst other qualifiers. As such, arguing that an individual is mentally unstable tends to be a common claim in will contests, especially for the elderly. There are a few ways to discredit such claims during the process of instating the will. A simple solution could be to film the execution of the will, which will show the physical and mental state of the individual at the time. Testators may also consider getting a mental examination and obtaining a sworn statement from the physician, stating the results.
Consulting with and getting the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney may be very helpful in developing an estate plan that will likely decrease the chances of a will contest. An attorney with experience in estate planning has the know-how to predict possible conflict and suggest ways to avoid such instances from occurring, or at least limit them. With a keen knowledge of the law, the attorney will also be able to make sure that the plan meets all estate planning regulations.
By implementing these elements, people may be well on their way to developing a solid estate plan that all parties involved will be happy with.