Protecting an Estate From Unexpected Challenges

California law presumes that most adults of sound mind have the legal capacity to write a will, establish a trust, and make other critical estate-related decisions. However, unequal inheritances—especially if they are perceived as unfair—can promote conflict within otherwise cohesive families.

If an heir or another interested party believes they are entitled to a greater share of the estate, they can file a will contest or other estate challenge. While such contests often fail, the estate is responsible for bearing the costs of litigation. Consequently, a particularly vigorous contest could drain an estate of resources, depriving deserving beneficiaries of their inheritances.

You can help shield your estate from uncertainty by talking to an estate planning attorney about:

  • Letters of instruction, which explain estate planning decisions and can circumvent allegations that a parent simply forgot to include a beneficiary in their will.
  • Revocable living trusts, which allow the grantor to condition inheritances and preclude the misuse of funds by immature, irresponsible, or underage heirs.
  • Special needs trusts, or SNTs, which provide parents the means to support a disabled child without risking the heir’s eligibility for government benefits.


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