When you create an estate plan, you hope it contains your desires for your assets and properties when you are incapacitated or when you pass on. Chances are you and your Washington estate planning professional spent countless hours creating a document that reflects your goals and wishes.
The last thing you want is for someone to step forward and contest your estate plan or seek the court’s intervention to change the terms of your estate plan. Or, your plan being invalidated so your estate is subjected to Washington’s intestate succession. While you can never prevent someone from contesting your estate plan, you sure can take certain deliberate steps to prevent whoever hopes to contest your plan from succeeding.
Common reasons why your estate plan may be contested
Generally, there are four grounds upon which your estate plan can be contested. These are:
- When the estate plan documents are not signed as required by the law.
- If you lacked proper capacity when creating the estate plan
- If you were unduly influenced or coerced into signing the estate plan documents
- Is there is fraudulent or illegal content in the estate plan documents
Protecting your estate plan from contestations
One of your goals when creating an estate plan is to ensure that your final wishes are honored. Here are some of the things you should consider if you have concerns about challenges to your estate plan:
- Avoid doing it yourself. Only an experienced estate planning professional can help you create and maintain a plan that will prevent disputes.
- Let your designated heirs know the details of your estate plan.
- Include discretionary trusts in your estate plan for beneficiaries in complicated circumstances.
- Keep your estate plan is up to date.
While most estate plans go through without contests, it is hard to predict whether someone will challenge your plan when you pass on. An estate plan contest can prolong the probate process and cost your estate a lot of money. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make it difficult for anyone to dispute your estate plan.