If You Disinherit Family Members Without Being Clear. This is an area that really requires you to consult with an estate planning attorney. The law typically is in favor of treating family members equally. Thus, if you want to give your daughter more than your son or leave him out entirely, you must be extremely clear about your intentions while not giving that individual cause to dispute the will. The Motley Fooladvises that you at least acknowledge the existence of all of your natural heirs, including your spouse, children, or other family members who would be in line to receive your assets under state law if you died without a will. You can then say that the will intentionally makes no provisions for that individual to receive any assets. That is not to say that the person you leave out of the will could put up a fight in court, but it improves the chances that a will contest will not destroy your planning.

If You Are Determined Not To Have The Mental Capacity To Sign A Will. One way people can contest a will is if the individual signing the will did not have the necessary mental capacity to execute an estate planning document. In other words, when you sign a will you have to understand what assets you own, your closest family members, that you are leaving the property to your designated beneficiaries after you pass, and your overall plan of who will be the recipient of parts of your overall estate. It is important to understand that even if you have a form of mental illness, you can still execute a valid will as long as you meet these requirements.

Courts have the authority to review your will for validity; however, if you adhere to these three ideas, you will have a better chance of having your wishes respected after your death.

For more information, please visit my estate planning website.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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