It may be surprising how people react after the death of a wealthy loved one. There may be those who expect to inherit specific items or assume they have the authority to take control of property, such as a home or ranch despite what is written in a loved one's will.
It is not uncommon for those receiving less than what they were expecting to contest the validity of a will. Like the action suggests, a will contest is a legal proceeding where the testator's (the person creating the will) intent is reviewed to interpret vague or ambiguous terms, or to determine if the will should be invalidated. A will contest can result property being redistributed.
Naturally, a carefully drafted will can help prevent disputes among beneficiaries. This post will provide a few tips.
Don't count on everyone getting along - Believing that your beneficiaries will simply get along and figure things out is not realistic. Feelings and priorities change over time, so it is prudent to have clear directions over who is in charge.
Be careful about disinheriting kids - A disinherited child is most likely to challenge a parent's will. Perhaps the creation of a trust managed by responsible trustees may be better, especially if you mean to protect an irresponsible child.
Don't be afraid to communicate - Explaining your core intentions to a trusted potential executor or responsible beneficiary may be helpful. This can help in reducing uncertainties about financial obligations and other responsibilities that can complicate things for beneficiaries.
If you have additional questions about how to avoid inheritance disputes, an experienced estate planning attorney can advise you.