How do you stop a will being contested?
We’ve all seen TV shows and movies where someone passes away and there’s a large inheritance and all of a sudden, everyone comes out of the woodwork trying to get a piece of the action. When someone is unhappy with what they’ve gotten, what happens? People end up in court. Is there a way to prevent that from happening to make sure that no one ends up contesting your will? Absolutely, but you’re going to have to stay tuned to figure out what it is you need to do.
Who hasn’t seen a movie all about a family dispute after someone’s passed away and the whole family is fighting about it. Who hasn’t heard all of these different celebrity stories of just people coming out of the woodwork looking for inheritances? So how do you stop a will being contested?
Why you need proper planning for your Estate
Well, unfortunately if you don’t have proper planning in place, if you haven’t reviewed your documents, if you haven’t really carefully sat down and considered where you want your assets to go after you’ve passed away, unfortunately, your family is going to end up in court without any further planning on your part.
If that happens, if they’re in court, who’s going to end up deciding who’s going to get what? It’s not going to be you anymore. It’s going to be a judge.
Someone who doesn’t know you, who doesn’t know your family, who doesn’t know the assets.
Family conflict is one of the main reasons why cases, probate cases take so long, especially out here in California. Well, the best way to prevent that from happening is really by going through looking at exactly who the people are in your family.
Who needs to be in the Will?
Who you think is going to be okay with things, who’s going to be a little bit difficult, and figuring out exactly what plan you want for the people and the assets in your life to come up with a plan that’s really tailored for that. It’s important to think about things such as obviously, children and spouses.
Sometimes, siblings but it’s really important to consider your relationship with your stepchildren.
It’s important to consider your relationship with your step parents. It’s really important to consider potential relationship with ex-spouses who may end up coming back into the picture. Just a lot of different people where there’s potential for conflict.
Another thing to consider is not just about the assets, but what about the kids? Something happens to you and you have kids, there could be a fight in the family over who’s going to end up raising your kids.
The benefits of Planning
That’s one of the biggest fights that can really end up tearing people apart. Without doing any type of planning, then it’s going to be up to a judge who’s going to decide where your kids are going to go. Even if you do some planning, you’re not able to exclude anyone from being a potential guardian if you just have a will either.
It’s really, really important to really think through the people, the pieces, the money, the kids, just to make sure your family doesn’t end up in any type of court or conflict. It’s important to document those wishes that you have to make sure it’s super clear, to make sure that there’s no issues with that and there’s no question of that. If you have any questions about how to do that, I’d be more than happy to talk to you and walk you through that.
My name is Pantea Fozouni with Palm Desert Law Group, and I would be more than happy to walk you through the process, answer all of your questions, and make sure that we come up with a plan that’s going to work for you and your family when you need it. Regardless of where you are in your life, who you are, what’s going on, it’s my job to know the right questions to ask and I’m here and I’m ready to help you whenever you’re ready.
This article is a service of Pantea I. Fozouni, Family Business Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. Go online today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.