Did you know those who meticulously plan for the end of life take many steps to ensure their wills are safe from potential disputes? It is a top concern for nearly everyone who creates an estate plan and wants to promote harmony for their grieving loved ones.
Still, there are situations when contesting a will is the only way to ensure the fulfillment of a decedent’s final wishes. If you believe you need to contest a will, you must consider the possible disadvantages of mounting a challenge.
Time and expense
Probate already takes longer than the involved parties would prefer, and initiating a challenge adds even more time to the process. Those who contest a will must also cover many court expenses. These costs could come from your pocket or the estate, potentially impacting its value.
Possible inheritance loss
Many wills contain no-contest clauses that could lead to disinheritance for those challenging the document. Washington probate courts strive to honor the wishes of the deceased. It takes solid proof and a persuasive argument to convince judges to act outside the will’s provisions.
Your relatives may disagree with your claim that something is wrong with the will. In many situations, contesting a will creates a disharmony that plagues family relationships for years or decades. Some continue harboring resentment even if it turns out there was a problem with the will.
As you can see, careful consideration is vital in matters that could change the will a loved one leaves behind. Weigh the benefits—protecting a family member’s final wishes—against the drawbacks. Learning about the legal side of contesting a will and how it might affect the decedent’s estate is also beneficial.