Will Lawyer in Sacramento
Your last will and testimony are paramount to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. However, if you have disinherited some of your family members, it can complicate your plans, especially if one or more of them decides to contest your last wishes. As a will lawyer in Sacramento from a firm like Yee Law Group Inc. can explain, there are a few things to consider to prevent your will from being contested.
Consider Who Can Contest
Contesting a will can only be done by certain people and for certain reasons. Your spouse, children, and people mentioned in your current will or a prior will are the only ones who can contest.
Affirm That You Are Uninfluenced and of Sound Mind
A common reason for contesting wills is the argument that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of signing. Being of sound mind does not mean you have a perfect mental capacity, but simply that you understand how much your estate is worth, who your beneficiaries are, and the impact your will may have.
Your will can also be contested if there is any suspicion that you were unduly influenced into writing it a certain way, or if someone believes that you were tricked into it. Your lawyer can provide documented proof that you deliberately wrote out and signed your own will by your own accord, and that you were of sound mind when you did it. Medical documents can also provide proof of your mental soundness.
Have Your Will Properly Executed
Another legal reason for contesting a will is the claim that the will was not properly executed. In order to be valid, your will must be signed and witnessed according to your state laws. Have an estate planning lawyer with you every step of the process to ensure that your will is properly executed.
Utilize the No-Contest Clause
Consider including a no-contest clause, also known as an in terrorem clause, which states that if anyone steps up to contest the will, they will receive absolutely nothing.
Be careful when using the no-contest clause, however, as it can come with a few catches. A completely disinherited relative may consider that they have nothing to lose from challenging the no-contest clause. Consider leaving them a sum that is tempting enough to prevent them from contesting and possibly overturning the will. Also, in some states, there are exceptions to the clause which can render it pointless, while in others the no-contest clause is unenforceable.
To prevent disinherited relatives from contesting your will, it’s imperative to have your will in order and understand your options. Contact your estate planning lawyer today to see what steps you can take to ensure that your last wishes are honored.