How To Avoid Contested Estates In California

Contested Estates

A contested estate can be an extremely troubling experience. From the frustration that comes along with it to the costs of having it untangled, a contested estate can be a major pain in the butt for anyone. Fortunately, avoiding this hassle is possible and can be done while taking a few key steps. It is critical to take these steps correctly to avoid issues down the road.

When planning your estate, therefore, be sure to take your time and ensure that every T is crossed and every I is dotted. The vast majority of people today will require the assistance of a seasoned estate professional to make sure the estate is up to par and does not have any holes that may later be exploited.

An estate planning attorney, licensed in your state of residence, is the best person to seek advice from. Your attorney will be your legal advocate and be able to give you the best guidance on how to set up your final documents in a way that minimizes the chances of a contested estate.

If you would like assistance with your estate plan in California, the talented Glendale estate planning attorneys at Ourfalian & Ourfalian can help.

Steps To Take To Avoid A Contested Estate

The steps to take to avoid contesting an estate can vary depending on whether you are the one leaving the estate or inheriting it. The greatest ease with which to prevent any contesting of an estate is to craft it carefully, ensuring all steps are followed correctly and your wishes are looked over by an experienced attorney. A properly constructed, legal California estate plan done correctly will leave very little, if any, room for someone to congest your final wishes.

Below are five simple steps you can take right now that can help make your will bulletproof:

  1. Include a no-contest clause
  2. Properly execute
  3. Obtain proof of the mental capacity
  4. Include a self-proving clause
  5. Discuss your wishes with your family

These steps may be fairly simple, but it is critical they are followed to the letter.

No-Contest Clause

A no-contest clause, for example, can only be enforced under very specific and limited circumstances in California. This clause prohibits someone who contests a will from inheriting from it as well. Courts have found that in many cases if the person had probable cause to contest the will, he or she will not be disinherited if they lose the contest. Bottom line is to make sure it is done correctly by a licensed attorney at Ourfalian & Ourfalian.

Proper Execution Of Will

The proper execution of a will is paramount to it being uncontestable and upheld. Although the state of California may recognize a handwritten will signed with no witnesses, it is always better to have your will signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries. Crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s can make all of the difference when it comes to an estate so make sure it is done properly.

Proof Of Mental Capacity

Obtaining proof of mental capacity can eliminate claims of you not being in your “right mind.” To do this, you can simply obtain written statements by two physicians stating that you have been examined and have the mental capacity to execute legal documents. Although this may not prevent someone from deciding to contest your will, it will make winning their case that much more difficult.

Obtaining a self-proving clause can also prevent unwanted estate contests. This involves having the witness or witnesses provide a statement swearing to the fact that they believe you were under no undue influence when signing the will and that you had the appropriate mental capacity and intent to create it. Just as with mental capacity, this may not prevent someone from contesting the will but will definitely make it much harder for them to succeed.

Talk To Family Members About Your Estate Plan

Talking your estate over with your family members can help avoid someone contesting the will later on. In fact, many contested wills are the direct result of a family member not receiving something. If you make your final wishes clear to them beforehand, the odds of someone contesting the will may fall dramatically.

For example, if you make it clear to your family that you do not much care for Uncle Ralph, it should come as no surprise if you elect not to leave something to him upon your passing. If Uncle Ralph were to contest your estate or consider doing so, the family could act as key witnesses having heard your disdain for him.

Avoiding the contesting of your estate may not always be possible but is oftentimes a very reasonable expectation. Taking a little time when planning can go a very long way towards the prevention of issues when the time comes. That, along with some attention to detail, can help your estate steer clear of being contested or otherwise argued upon your passing. The idea of yourself passing on or becoming incapacitated is difficult enough to ponder.

The last thing you’d want your heirs to deal with should it happen is someone contesting your final wishes. Take the time and spend the necessary energy now to make your estate and final wishes hassle-free for you and your heirs. You’ll be glad you did so! Getting the necessary advice and counsel has never been easier and can be started by simply picking up the phone. Start today and make your estate go to the people you like when the time comes.

Speak to an Experienced Glendale Estate Planning Attorney Today

When it comes to reducing the chances of a contested estate, taking certain, specific steps can make a lot of difference. Hiring an experienced and seasoned California estate planning attorney licensed in the State of California can potentially make your estate bulletproof. Do not sell yourself short or look to save money now by exposing your estate to hassles later on. Do it right the first time. Contact Ourfalian & Ourfalian today by calling (818) 550-7777 to schedule a free consultation.