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Be clear in your estate plan to avoid litigation

If you are concerned about troubling your loved ones after you pass away, something you should look into is probate litigation and what it can mean for them. Probate litigation consists of legal disputes about disabilities, death and aging, but in this case, you'll be most concerned about disputes that take place after death.

One reason that your family may end up litigating is if you have a will that is not clear. That's one reason why it's smart to have trusts and other legal documents that protect your assets and wishes for their distribution. While many people have wills, it's possible for your loved ones to contest your will and change, in some cases, what you wanted to see happen.

The good news is that you can take steps to make will contests much less likely. One of the best ways to do so is through a no-contest clause.

What is a no-contest clause in a will?

A no-contest clause is also known as a terrorem clause. It is a wonderful clause to include, becasue it can make sure that others don't second-guess your wishes. With this clause, the individual will know that if they contest the will and lose, they'll lose everything that they were to inherit.

Why is this a good clause? It prevents those who feel slighted from going to court and seeking more. They may decide that they're satisfied with what they have and avoid causing trouble during a difficult time in your family's life.

While a no-contest clause can make a will seemingly foolproof, it's still better to opt for more secure ways to distribute your assets, such as setting up individual trusts for those you want to have become heirs or giving assets to your heirs directly while you're still alive.

How else can you help prevent a will contest?

If you do decide to have a will and trusts, you'll still want to take steps to make sure the will is going to be enforced. Talk to your loved ones about your decisions. If they understand why you're leaving certain items to some people and not to others, then the likelihood of a case going to court is going to be much lower. With the right discussion, your family can talk to you about what you expect and why you've made the decisions that you have, so they can better carry out your wishes.

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Zapolis & Associates, P.C.
9991 191st Street
Mokena, IL 60448

Phone: 708-390-8936
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