If you live in Virginia and you are preparing a will, you may be concerned about someone contesting it, resulting in your wishes not being carried out. There are a few things you can do to help prevent this.
Communication and planning ahead
The first step is to be as transparent with your family as you can afford to be. What exactly this means will vary from family to family, but some conflicts over a person’s estate plan occur simply because well-meaning people have different interpretations of what was intended. Communication may make this less likely. Similarly, you should make an estate plan sooner rather than later, when there is no question about your mental capacity or understanding of what you are doing. In addition, you should review it periodically to make sure that it remains up-to-date in terms of any changes in your assets, family or tax law. Working with professionals on wills and other estate planning documents can help ensure that you have used the correct language and the right documents for your aims.
No-contest clauses and trusts
You can include a no-contest clause in your will. Essentially, this means that if a person challenges it because they feel that you did not leave them enough, they will not get anything if their contest fails. This may discourage people from contesting it. Finally, you could consider using other documents to pass the bulk of your assets. For example, a trust is private and does not pass through probate.
Estate planning is a task that people often procrastinate on doing, but it is important for adults to have one in order to protect their loved ones as well as for their own peace of mind. Without a will, trust, or other tools like beneficiary designations, state law will govern what happens to a decedent’s assets.