3 Pitfalls to Avoid to Ensure You Don’t Have a Contested Will

A contested will is a legal dispute that arises when the validity of a will is challenged by one or more beneficiaries, heirs, or other interested parties. This situation can create a significant emotional and financial strain on all parties involved. By avoiding some common mistakes, you can ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you intended. Here are some mistakes people make when preparing their will, leading to contested wills.

Not Updating Your Will 

A common error most people make after preparing their will is not updating it regularly. Life constantly changes, and failing to keep your will up-to-date can lead to a contested will. It is essential to update your will in case of significant life changes such as marriage, divorce, having a child, or acquiring new assets.

Failing to update your will can result in unintended consequences, such as leaving out beneficiaries or leaving assets to individuals you no longer wish to benefit. Additionally, outdated wills can create ambiguity that can lead to legal disputes.

It is recommended that you make a habit of reviewing your will annually. Record significant life events such as births, marriages, and divorces. Seek the expert guidance of a professional, such as an attorney or financial advisor, to ensure your will reflects your current wishes.

Not Being Clear About Your Intentions

Misunderstandings can occur when the language in the will is vague or ambiguous. Leaving a large sum of money to "my children" can create confusion about whether stepchildren or adopted children are included in the inheritance.

As such, it is essential to use precise language to avoid a contested will. Be specific about who you leave assets to and how much each beneficiary will receive. Leave no doubt about your intentions to avoid a legal dispute over your will.

Choosing the Wrong Executor

The executor of your will ensures that your final wishes are carried out as you intended. The executor is, therefore, a critical factor in the success of your will. Choosing the wrong executor can lead to conflicts among beneficiaries and result in a contested will.

That is why you must ensure you choose a trustworthy and responsible individual. Consider the individual's availability and willingness to serve as executor. However, suppose you cannot find a suitable executor among your family or friends. In that case, you may consider hiring a professional, such as an attorney or trust company, to serve as your executor.

By following these tips, you can protect your legacy and ensure your loved ones are cared for after you're gone.