Avoiding a Will Contest
There are practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of family members initiating a Will contest.
First, a Last Will and Testament should always include a provision that anyone who attempts to have a Will thrown out is not to inherit any of the property from the person who passed away. That tends to cool off most people who might be inclined toward litigation.
Second, a provision declaring that those who have been left out of a Will were left out on purpose is a good idea. That can help eliminate the argument that the deceased person forgot that he intended to leave a gift to someone who was not named in the Will.
Third, if the person who made the Will is struggling with memory issues, it may be prudent to get a letter from his or her physician documenting the fact that the physician believes that the person still has the mental capacity to make a Will. This letter is best obtained immediately following the signing of the Will. A copy of the letter should then be stored with the Will.
Finally, having the Will prepared by an attorney tends to act as its own confirmation of a person’s wishes and competence. An attorney will usually be able to spot a person who may be having memory issues or who may be under the unhealthy influence of other. A Will privately prepared by the person himself, on the other hand, tends to be viewed with greater skepticism by the courts.