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2 estate planning steps to reduce the risk of a contest later

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Your estate plan can name guardians for your children, caregivers for companion animals, recipients for assets and even nonprofit beneficiaries for some of your financial resources. You may have put significant personal effort into documenting your financial resources and personal property and then determining how to divide those assets after you die.

Unfortunately, your plans could end up ignored and the value of your estate significantly diminished if one of your family members or a beneficiary of your estate contests the will and tries to challenge your legacy. Even when they are unsuccessful, will contests can cost thousands of dollars and reduce how much you pass on to the people you love when you die.

There are thankfully a couple of steps that you can take to reduce the chances of a dispute arising regarding your Minnesota estate plan.

Add a no-contest clause

You have the right to include a special clause that imposes a penalty on anyone who challenges your testamentary documents. A no-contest clause can reduce or fully eliminate the inheritance of someone who brings a frivolous challenge against your state.

However, it’s important to note that Minnesota state law does allow challenges without any penalties if someone has probable cause to suspect a lack of testamentary capacity or some kind of misconduct.

Embrace estate planning transparency

Some people experience a thrill when they think about shocking their family members with their estate plan. Choosing to disinherit your one problem child or severely diminish what you leave for your spouse might seem like a way to have the final say, but it might mean that your loved ones challenge your will.

When everyone in the family knows what your wishes are and what to expect during probate proceedings, they will have a harder time convincing the courts that fraud, undue influence or incompetency are to blame for their mediocre inheritance rights.

When you include a no-contest clause in your estate plan, inform loved ones of your legacy wishes and warn them about your no-contest clause, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of probate litigation diminishing what you leave behind when you die. Utilizing the right estate planning tools can help people address even complicated family circumstances successfully.