When you create or update your estate plan, one of your goals should be to ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled. If you are concerned about challenges to your estate plan, consider the following:
1. Do not “do it yourself”!
If you are concerned about an heir contesting your estate plan, only an experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help you create and maintain a plan that will discourage lawsuits. Also, note that unintended consequences can result from a “do it yourself” plan because a box or YouTube video cannot give personalized legal advice and it’s impossible to work around laws you know nothing about.
2. Let your family know about your estate plan.
It is not necessary to let family members know about all the intimate details of your estate plan, but at the very least they need to know that you have taken the time to create one. Are these types of topics difficult for you to discuss with your family? We work closely with the Legacy Foundry platform, which helps you share your wishes and start conversations with family members on difficult subject matter around legacy and end-of-life decisions.
3. Use discretionary trusts for problem beneficiaries.
Instead of completely disinheriting a beneficiary who may squander their inheritance or use it against your wishes, you can require the beneficiary’s share to be held in a lifetime discretionary trust and name a third party, such as a bank or trust company, as trustee. This will allow you to control when the beneficiary will receive distributions.
4. Keep your estate plan up to date.
Estate planning is not a transaction, it is an ongoing process. Therefore, as circumstances change, so should your estate plan. An up-to-date plan shows that you took the time to review and revise the plan as your family and financial situations changed. This, in turn, will discourage challenges since your plan will encompass your current estate planning goals.
Will and trust contests are on the rise. Putting together an estate plan that is designed to head off challenges will go a long way to giving you and your loved ones peace of mind. We can help you to create and maintain an estate plan that will be difficult to overturn and will keep you and your family protected.