Everyone will tell you the importance of leaving behind a will. This legal document makes your final wishes known to those left behind and ensures the court distributes your assets based on your desires. But what if your heirs don't agree with your will or challenge it? While you may not be around for the fight, your inheritance lawyer will be. Here are a few things you need to know to make your will challenge-proof.
Not Everyone Can Challenge Your Will
If you are worried about an extended family member, friend, or foe challenging your will, you may not have anything to worry about. The only people who have standing are as follows:
- Your children
- Your spouse
- Those you have included in your will
- Those you included in a former will
To contest your will, the person must file when your estate is in probate. If your document is straightforward, your executor will distribute most of your assets quickly. There may be nothing to challenge if the challenger waits too long.
There Must Be A Valid Reason To Challenge A Will
While people make many promises during their lifetime, these promises are only enforceable if they are in writing. A person cannot challenge a will based on what you said at some point in life or because they disagree with the document's contents.
There must be valid legal questions about your will for a challenge to occur. Some of these challenges reasons include the following:
Execution problems - If your will is not signed, witnessed, or properly executed according to the laws in your state, the court could rule it invalid. Being invalid would make it difficult to enforce and open it up to be challenged.
Testamentary capacity - If your family can prove you did not have the mental ability to know what you were doing when you signed the will, it would be a challenge reason. Mental capacity does not mean you have to be without any cognitive deficits. You have to understand your assets, know who your heirs and beneficiaries are, and how you are distributing your assets.
Talk to your inheritance attorney if you are worried that this will be a valid challenge. There are numerous ways to show you are of sound mind. Some of these may be videotaping the signing or getting medical documentation to include with your will.
Fraud and undue influence - Another reason your heirs may challenge your will is if they can prove you signed it under undue influence or fraud was involved. Undue influence often happens when a caretaker or family member exerts control over everything you do. Ensuring your inheritance lawyer creates and witnesses any changes to your will can help avoid this challenge.
For more info, contact a local inheritance lawyer.