Having an estate plan is one way to ensure that your family members won’t fight over your estate when you’re gone. What many people don’t realize is that there are signs they can look for that signal potential issues to lead to a will contest.
While these signs might not be anything that you have to address while you’re alive, they can be a clue to anything in particular that you need to include in your estate plan.
The tensions that occur among children are usually seeded in sibling rivalry but many people get over this when they’re adults. It might come back when their parents pass away. If you have children who fight a lot now, it’s pretty safe to assume that they will keep it up when you’re gone.
In order to try to prevent them from taking legal action claiming that the estate plan isn’t valid, you may consider discussing it with them while you’re still here to answer questions.
Mental health issues
When any of your beneficiaries have mental health issues, they might be more likely to contest the will. These problems include things like clinical depression, addiction and similar issues. One way that you might be able to prevent them from being able to challenge your estate plan is to set up trusts to hand over assets. There are different types that serve various purposes, so discuss your wishes with your estate planning attorney to find out what options you have that will suit your needs and theirs.
Changes in family dynamics
Any major changes in how your family is set up could lead to questions later. One event that seems to spark discontentment is when a single parent meets someone new. If you fall in love later in life and get married, your adult children might think that the new spouse is only out for your money. They sometimes use this as a way to claim undue influence in a will challenge.
Differences in income levels
Adult children who have very different income levels might have disagreements about the estate plan and not accept that everything is equal. Instead, the lower income sibling might claim that they should be due more of the estate. This is another case in which discussing the estate plan ahead of time is beneficial.
Ultimately, your estate planning attorney can help you to set up a plan that relays your wishes in a concise and legal manner. This can also reduce the chance that your loved ones will have to handle a will challenge.