Can you protect your will from disputes?

Can you protect your will from disputes?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2023 | Estate Planning & Probate |

When you create a will, you hope everyone will understand and respect your wishes as far as the distribution of your property when you die is concerned. And most often, this is exactly what happens. 

But it is not uncommon for the will probation process to turn families into sworn enemies and their would-be inheritance into legal fees. Disputes over your will can be triggered by a number of factors such as sibling rivalry, dissatisfaction with their inheritance or simply spite. But can you prevent disputes in the first place?

Of course, you have no control over your heirs’ actions after your demise. That said, here are two practical steps you can take to minimize the possibility of someone disputing your will.

Explain your decisions

If you have more than one beneficiary, chances are you will allot some beneficiaries more assets than others. And this can be a problem, especially if an heir feels they have not been treated fairly. For instance, you may not leave significant assets to a child with substance abuse or addiction issues. In this case, it is important that you explain why you allotted your assets in a specific manner. Most importantly, never use the will to settle scores. 

Be as clear as you possibly can

Your will is only as good as its content. Ambiguous or unclear provisions are some of the leading causes of will disputes since it opens the door for everyone to interpret the document as they wish; and most often in their favor. Additionally, it is important that your will is up to date so there are no questions regarding assets that are neither captured in the will or other estate planning tools like trusts. 

Disputes are not uncommon when probating a will. With the right approach and knowledge, however, you can avoid common pitfalls that can derail your wishes and loved ones’ futures.