When you set out to construct an estate plan, you do it with the intent that it will make things easier on your heirs after you die. Have you done enough to stop someone from coming in and challenging the will during probate?
New Jersey law allows those with standing to contest a will. The first step to preventing your loved ones from going through that is understanding how l contests happen.
Who has the standing to contest a will?
Only those who can prove standing may contest a will. Those eligible to contest a will are either already listed as beneficiaries or believe the will should list them.
Why contest a will?
Beneficiaries contest a will because they believe they were falsely either cut out of inheriting or receiving a far smaller slice of the estate than they should. The most common contests come from grown children and siblings. They may believe that you made a change to your will that either took them out or took away something. An undue influence claim often grows out of will contests.
How can you stop a will contest from happening?
Should you decide to revise your will and cut a beneficiary out or reduce what he or she gets, you want to ensure you have supporting documentation. For instance, if you cut out a sibling, include a letter to the court explaining why you made the changes. Whoever helps you prepare your will can notarize and witness this affidavit to lend credence to your state of mind when you made the changes.
A will contest can not only cost your heirs time, but it may prove costly to defend. Try and do what you can when you prepare your estate plan to help avoid a challenge.