A lot of people come into my office for estate planning and they are worried about someone contesting the will and messing everything up.
They are worried about someone thinking their will is unfair and trying to get more.
They are worried about someone thinking they weren’t making the right choice at the time and they want to right a wrong.
And they are worried about someone believing circumstances had changed since the will was executed and wanting to “update” the terms to the current state of the family.
I have good news for you.
None of these reasons are valid for contesting a will
But there are a few reasons…
Will Contest Reason #1: Poor Execution
Wills are very important documents.
They have the power to distribute ALL of your assets.
Lawmakers know this and have taken great pains to do their best to ensure wills are valid before they are put into action.
Step one of this process is the execution of the document.
A will needs to be written.
A will needs to be signed by the person creating the will.
Two independent people need to see the person signing the will sign the will.
If these basic elements don’t exist, the will can be contested (successfully too).
Will Contest Reason #2: Lack of Capacity
To give all of your stuff away you have to:
(1) know that you are giving all of your stuff away; and
(2) know the people you are giving your stuff away too.
The classic example here is dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
If someone does not have the mental capacity to make these decisions they cannot make them.
If you can prove that the person signing the will was not able to make these decisions, you can have the will invalidated.
Will Contest Reason #3: Duress
Ever hear of blackmail?
It’s not good.
Blackmail is a great example of duress.
Imagine someone comes to you with some dirt on you. They tell you they are going to publish this information to the world unless you give them a sizable gift in your will.
Something like that invalidates the will.
Another example would be threats.
Someone threatens harm to you if you don’t do what they want.
That’s not good for the will. The will is invalid.
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Christopher Small wants to help you live a rich life now and leave a rich legacy.
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Christopher is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC, a Seattle estate planning law firm. CMS Law Firm does three things really well: (1) estate planning; (2) probate; and (3) trust administration.
Christopher is a speaker, a blogger, a husband, a father, a golfer, and really good at helping people create the life of their dreams.
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