Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer on Preventing Future Inheritance Disputes
In my years as an estate planning attorney, I have seen many families suffer through conflicts caused by arguments over inheritance concerns. Not only can a will contest or other estate planning dispute cause contention between loved ones but these conflicts can also be very time consuming and incur considerable expense. While there may be no way to completely prevent arguments over inheritance or other estate planning matters, there are certain steps you can take that will greatly reduce the chances of an estate planning dispute in the future.
Do Not Wait Until You Are Very Ill to Create an Estate Plan
Because it can be an uncomfortable process emotionally, many people procrastinate drafting their wills, advance medical directives, and other estate planning documents. They may assume that they do not need to worry about estate planning until they are very elderly or have a terminal illness. However, putting off estate planning until you are in ill health will only increase the chances that your testamentary capacity will be questioned in the future. Your beneficiaries may claim that you were not of sound mind when you made your estate plans and use this as grounds to challenge your will.
Discuss Your Estate Plans With Family in Advance
A will or trust is less likely to be challenged if the people involved in the estate plan are aware of the provisions contained within it. After you have made major estate planning decisions, it may be a good idea to notify your family of these decisions. When heirs are completely surprised by a deceased loved one’s estate plans, this can lead them to question the validity of these plans. Although it may be an awkward conversation to have, most experts encourage testators to discuss estate plans with loved ones in advance so that there are not major surprises upon the testator’s passing that will lead to family arguments.
Consider a No-Contest Clause
A no-contest clause is a provision that discourages heirs from contesting a will. There is no way to 100 percent guarantee that beneficiaries will not challenge your will, you can discourage them from doing so. A no-contest clause specifies that if a person files a lawsuit to challenge a will or trust and is unsuccessful, that person will lose part or all of his or her inheritance. No-contest clauses can be complex and must meet certain criteria to be enforceable. It is essential that anyone wishing to include a no-contest clause in his or her will seek guidance from an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer
Disputes over inheritance can tear a family apart. To minimize the chances of your loved ones’ questioning the validity of your will, work with a lawyer to make sure your will meets the criteria required by Illinois law. Contact the Gierach Law Firm today at 630-756-1160 and schedule a consultation with an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney to discuss your needs.