When you create a will as part of your estate planning process, you are doing so to ensure that your assets end up in the right hands when you die. For that reason, you want to be sure that you get everything right.
Unfortunately, all that effort can amount to nothing if someone successfully contests your will. Generally, your will can be contested by your widow, children or the other beneficiaries named in the will. So how do you ensure that your will is not contested?
Here are 3 steps you can take to safeguard your will from disputes.
Master the ropes
The first, and probably the most important, step you can take to protect your will from disputes is ensuring that it is valid. Your will should meet the following criteria to be considered valid in Washington:
- You must be at least 18 at the time of its creation
- It cannot be handwritten
- It must be duly signed by the testator as well as two witnesses
- You must be of sound mind at the time of creating the will
Your will can be successfully contested if it does not meet any of these legal requirements.
Do not have multiple wills
It is important that you destroy outdated wills to prevent potential confusion. This is especially true if strip some beneficiaries of their inheritance in your updated will. For instance, if you divorce, you may want to update your will by disinheriting your ex. In this case, you might want to destroy the older will upon creating a new one.
Including a no-contest clause in the will
Typically, a no-contest clause indicates that a beneficiary will forfeit their inheritance should they opt to contest the will. However, you need to note that this clause only bars the beneficiaries named in the will from contesting the document. Meaning, anyone who is not named as a beneficiary may contest the document.
Will disputes can derail your wishes. Find out how you can protect your will from costly contests.