A will is a crucial component of any estate plan. This document instructs the executor how assets should be divided upon your death. The will can also provide instructions on who should look after your minor children in the event of your incapacitation or death.
Like all legal documents, a will must be constructed so that it complies with state law. Failure to do this could mean that the document is contested at the time of its execution. Outlined below are some of the more common reasons for will contests.
The testator was vulnerable
A will must be written voluntarily. The testator must possess both the legal and mental capacity to voluntarily engage in the estate planning process. This can become problematic when examining the estate plan of an elderly and more vulnerable individual. There must be no presence of undue influence or manipulation during the drafting or modification of a will. If undue influence is suspected, then the will can be contested.
It is also vital that the will is drafted by using the appropriate legal language and going through the right channels. For instance, in California, the testator must be at least 18 years old and there must also be two witnesses present at the time of signing the document.
Avoiding will contests
Will contests can put your final wishes and the inheritance of your loved ones at risk. Thus, it’s best to avoid them. Having legal guidance behind you when creating your estate plan will give you the best chance of making sure everything runs smoothly.