Fairfax Virginia Estate Planning Attorney Warns, “Keep Changes to a Minimum to Avoid a Will Contest Later!”

One of the biggest reasons someone creates a will is so that they can choose the people that will receive their assets. So, the last thing you want is for your will to be changed after you are gone. When a will is challenged in court, it is called a will contest. A will contest begins when someone who has an interest in the estate, most often a family member, challenges the validity of the will after the creator of the will has passed away.

There are many reasons that a will might be contested, such as the assertion that the creator of the will did not have contractual capacity when the will was signed. Another big reason a will is challenged is when someone believes the will was signed under duress. More often than not, will contests based on these reasons are thrown out of court because of a lack of proof. But, if you are interested in making sure that your will is rock-solid, there is one thing you should consider. A will contest is more likely to happen if the deceased had a long track record of changing or revoking their will.

Take note: things DO happen that require you to change your will. In fact, we encourage you to review your entire estate plan every 3 to 5 years and update it if you have had any life events such as births, deaths, marriages, or divorces that impact your legacy.

However, changing your will too often for reasons that some might consider trivial, such as a temporary family argument, could mean that a judge would be more likely to hear the will contest. If the judge agrees with the person who contested the will, they could choose to default to a previous will which may not align with your wishes.

Your will is an important part of your estate plan and should be carefully considered. If you do want to make changes, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney so that she can make sure that all proper protocol is followed. This will greatly decrease the chances that someone will be successful in contesting your will. We can help give you peace of mind that everything will be distributed as you intended after your death. Contact Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law today for a consultation.