Preventing Will Challenges and Will Contests


Are you concerned that your Last Will & Testament will possibly be challenged or contested by members of your family after you pass? If so, you're not alone. There are many people with conflicts in their family that may bubble up after you pass, resulting in estate litigation.

While we cannot prevent a will from being challenged, we can minimize the risks and discourage such behavior. Here are a few tips:

  1. Get all of the family issues out in the open while you’re alive and try to resolve them. This may be easier said than done, but it's important to at least consider the idea. If you don't resolve the problems now, it doesn't mean they go away after you pass on. If you are concerned about your family, you should think about how to find a solution now.
  2. Communicate what’s in your will and inform loved ones who you chose as beneficiaries of your estate.  Unpleasant surprises always breed resentment and conflict, especially in a sensitive time of one's passing.
  3. Make sure your will is created professionally by a lawyer, executed properly and stored properly. "Self-help" and online wills may look tempting, but "you don't know what you don't know." Be careful, and have a professional work with you to ensure you're covered.
  4. Limit giving copies of your will to people. In fact, don’t give copies to anyone at all. Just let the Executor know where to find the will when the time comes.
  5. Review your will regularly and update it with an attorney when necessary. Make sure there is a "no-contest" clause in your will. 
  6. Consider how your estate is set up.  Use more payable-on-death accounts, annuities, life insurance, trusts, etc. to facilitate the direct passage of that asset to a beneficiary (a will does NOT affect those assets that transfer directly to individuals through beneficiary forms).