A will is a vital part of any estate plan. This document allows you to express your final wishes and pass your assets on to your loved ones upon your death. You can also include provisions that set out who you would like to be a legal guardian for your minor children, and much more.
A watertight will should pass through probate with few issues, meaning that your final wishes come to fruition. However, will contests are possible. The following tips should go some way to reducing the risk of will contests.
Follow legal protocols
In Louisiana, the testator of a will must typically be at least 18 years old. However, minors over the age of 16 can also draft a will mortis causa (in prospect of death). The testator must also be of sound mind, meaning that they are capable of understanding the terms of the document and their consequences. Additionally, the signing of the will must be witnessed by two competent and reliable witnesses.
Revoke previous wills
You may have written a will years ago, but it no longer meets your current needs. You are perfectly entitled to draft a new will, but it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that it takes precedence. If an old will arises upon your death, this could provide grounds for a will contest based on confusion. As you draft your new will, be sure to take steps to revoke any previous documents that no longer reflect your needs.
Be wary of undue influence
Your will should reflect your wishes and not those of another interested party. While you can and should have open discussions about estate planning with your loved ones, they should not dictate the terms to you. Suspicion of undue influence is another common reason for will contests.
A will is a very useful estate planning document, but it must be accurate, up to date and true to your wishes. To ensure that your estate plan is legally above board, it will benefit you to seek legal guidance while drafting it.