A contest over the contents of someone’s will can happen for many reasons — but some family situations are actually more likely to result in disputes than others.
You may find it interesting to learn what motivates these kinds of family disputes after a loved one’s death, as this can help you reduce the chances of this being a problem down the road when it comes time to probate your estate.
It can prove challenging deciding how to split up your assets when you have children from both a previous and current marriage. You may find it necessary to draft a letter of intent to clarify that it was indeed your intention to earmark certain financial assets or sentimental items to one set of kids and not the others. Your loved ones may find themselves in a disputed will battle if you don’t take this extra step.
Avoiding sibling disputes
A parent’s death can be traumatic for kids to go through, no matter their age. Inequitably distributed assets often give way to sibling infighting and thus contested wills.
Parents can minimize the chances of this happening by also drafting a letter of intent describing why one of their kids is receiving a smaller inheritance than the other. That can help clarify their reasoning to the court, should a dispute make it that far.
It is also sometimes possible to include a clause letting an heir know that they risk losing anything they are set to receive should they contest the will.
Other options for minimizing chances of a contested will
Setting up a trust may be a good option for you if you have significant assets that you want to leave behind to others. You may also find it ideal to set up an incentive trust that rewards your loved ones for giving back to others. Creating a family foundation that brings all your loved ones together to work on a worthwhile cause may also seem like an ideal use of funds.
An attorney will likely want to know more about the assets you have and what you’d like to happen with them when you pass away before helping you understand your estate planning options.