Estate Planning: 3 Ways to Avoid Estate Litigation

No one looks forward to the rise of a dispute between their loved ones over an estate. However, if you don't draft your estate plan correctly, it can result in disagreements concerning who will inherit what portion of your estate once you are gone. In such an instance, the court can make a ruling that does not favour your wishes as pertains to the will. To avoid this, it is critical to ensure you plan your estate as clearly as possible to prevent beneficiaries or other interested parties from going into litigation. In this light, here are three issues that you should consider when drawing up your will.

Explain unequal inheritances

It is normal for some children to assume that they will receive equal shares of your estate once you are gone. If you wish to leave a greater percentage to one or more of them, be sure to indicate this in the will. You can also give your reasons for doing so. This will prevent any beneficiaries who feel that the will doesn't favour them from going into litigation. As long as a reason has been given, the court will respect your wishes and as such, divide the property as indicated in the will regardless of the arguments presented by the aggrieved party.

Keep your will updated

Most people draw their first will in their 20s and 30s when they first get a family. Things are bound to change between this time and when they die. That's why you need to keep your will updated at all times. If you want to disinherit someone or include another beneficiary in your will, talk to your lawyer immediately. If you go without having updated the will for a long time, some clauses may be rendered void. This leaves room for beneficiaries and another interested party to go into litigation and fight for bigger shares of the estate.

Use "no contest" clauses

No contest clauses can limit your beneficiaries from dragging each other through the mud over your estate. For example, the phrase can state that a recipient stands to lose their inheritance if they go into litigation. In such a case, no one will be willing to lose their share over a court battle. However, even these clauses can be challenged in court under certain circumstances. However, they can still be used to discourage individuals from contesting your last wishes.

It is critical to plan your estate in such a way that it does not leave room for litigation. Let your lawyer help you in updating your current will to protect the interests of your loved ones and avoid unnecessary disputes in the family. For more information, contact local wills and estates lawyers.