4 Safeguards to Prevent Your Will from Being Contested

As you work to create your estate plan, one of your goals should be to leave no doubts as to the validity of your will. In some circumstances, beneficiaries who feel they got spurned in the will might attempt to challenge its validity in hopes of ultimately receiving more of an inheritance.

By working with a skilled estate planning attorney, you can remove this risk. Experienced legal professionals understand how to craft key documents that eliminate potential loopholes or vulnerabilities that could leave a will open challenges.

The following are some safeguards you can put in place to prevent your will from challenges:

  • Get your will done early: Try not to procrastinate when it comes to writing up a will. The best time to start your estate planning process is while you are still healthy—not when there is any question at all about your mental capacity.

Will contests become significantly more common if an individual creates or alters it after beginning to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, for example. It becomes easier for a challenger to the will to prove the testator was not of sound mind when he or she created the document. Thus, you should create your will as early as possible and make regular updates as needed.

  • Add a “no contest” clause: You may include a provision that essentially blocks people from contesting the will for selfish reasons. Under such a clause, anyone who attempts to challenge the will would receive nothing from the estate. This does not prevent anyone from challenging the will at all, but if a person is acting purely out of self-interest, it could act as a powerful deterrent.
  • Share your estate plan with your loved ones: The people close to you will be much less likely to challenge the validity of your will if they know what it contains before you pass away. Sit down with your loved ones and explain your decisions. This gives you the opportunity to avoid your loved ones receiving nasty surprises after their death, while also allowing you to smooth over any potential arguments or points of contention from the start.
  • Regularly update your estate plan: Whenever the circumstances of your life have significantly changed, such as a new marriage, the birth of a new child, a new job or retirement, you should update your will to ensure it reflects your current situation. A will that appears to be outdated is more likely to see challenges, as someone could argue it did not reflect the true wishes of the testator.

These are just a few of the steps you may take to prevent will contests from becoming an issue after your passing. For more information and guidance on how to create legally binding estate planning documents, contact a trusted estate planning lawyer.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Michigan Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Einheuser Legal, P.C. is an estate planning law firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. We help families set up wills and living trusts. Attorney Michael Einheuser is an experienced estate planning lawyer serving residents in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Township. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 248-398-4665.

How to Give Gifts Through Your Will

As you establish your estate plan, one of your goals may be to provide certain gifts to your family members and friends. While there are some tax benefits to doing this while you are still alive, you may also pass on “testamentary gifts” through your will. Doing so can help your beneficiaries avoid many of the headaches associated with probate.

There are three different categories of testamentary gifts that a Farmington Hills estate planning attorney can help you arrange in your will. The following is a brief overview of each:

  • Specific gift: A specific gift is explicit about which assets or property go to which beneficiaries. You might, for example, specify that a loved one receives a certain collection or a specific piece of furniture you own. You may also use specific gifts to forgive debts others owe to you.
  • General gift: A general gift is not as easy to interpret as a specific gift, which is why individuals usually try to be as specific as possible when creating their wills. An example would be leaving behind “a motor vehicle” for a loved one. If you have more than one vehicle, that instruction might be too vague. Your executor may need to interpret and analyze the will to determine the likely intent behind a general gift.
  • Residuary gift: This is a gift of property left over after the executor has administered the rest of the assets and property. For example, after your loved ones receive all of the specific gifts outlined in your will, the rest of your property goes to a specific person or organization.

How should you leave behind these gifts?

You should discuss with your Rochester Hills estate planning lawyer exactly what gifts you want to leave behind to your beneficiaries, along with the strategies you will use to leave those gifts.

There are a few ways you can leave gifts, including:

  • Making gifts in an exact amount: If you are leaving behind money, you may specify an exact amount of cash — whether it’s for general use or a special purpose.
  • Designate a percentage of your estate to go to charity: You may choose to leave money or property to a charity or cause of your choice. Typically, you will designate the percentage of your estate’s value that will go to the organization in question.
  • Create special types of trusts: Trusts allow you to bypass the probate process and can shield your assets from estate taxes. This can be an important benefit if the value of your estate is hovering around the estate tax exemption limit.

You have the power to decide what will happen to your assets and property after you pass away. Meet with a professional at a Southfield estate planning law firm to guide you through the process.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Einheuser Legal, P.C. is an estate planning law firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. We help families set up wills and living trusts. Attorney Michael Einheuser is an experienced estate planning lawyer serving residents in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Township.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling (248) 398-4665.