The creation of an estate plan is essential for protecting assets after the owner of those assets passes away. However, not much thought goes to reducing the chances that wills will be contested down the road. A few tips may help with preventing this from happening in the state of New York.
First, it is essential that, if the plan is to disinherit somebody, this is stated clearly in the estate planning documents. This demonstrates that there really was an intent to disinherit the person, which eliminates the possible argument that this person was left out of the estate plan inadvertently. In addition, it may be beneficial to leave a small amount to the person to be disinherited and then state in the plan that any beneficiaries who contest the plan will lose all that has been intended for them. This actually serves as an incentive to avoid contesting the plan.
It is also imperative to let all family members know about what is in the plan. Even if the creators of plans do not feel comfortable sharing all of their plans’ details with loved ones, they can at least tell their family members that plans exist. It is especially important to make loved ones aware of who has been placed in fiduciary roles so that they know where exactly they can find the information they must access.
A trust is generally more challenging to contest compared to a will. Part of the reason for this is that trusts are not filed publicly with courts in the same way that wills are, and not everybody can access a trust. An attorney in New York can help will creating trusts or wills that best reflect the creators’ wishes, which may include disinheriting particular loved ones.
Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, “Ways to avoid a will or trust contest“, Carissa Giebel, March 27, 2017