As you revise your will, you may want to reconsider some of its provisions. Since its beneficiaries will receive your assets in probate court, you will want to ensure a smooth disbursement process. Yet, you may sense potential for conflicts or challenges between them, and it is important you plan for these. By keeping the most common probate disputes in mind, you can take steps to prevent them.
Probate disputes may arise from sibling rivalry or unexpected omissions. But more often, they stem from disagreements about your will. If your intentions remain unclear, your beneficiaries may deem your will’s terms questionable or up for debate. They may argue among each other if:
Your will contains outdated provisions
You leave certain assets out of your will
Several drafts of your will are discovered
Your will goes unsigned
What you can do
When you revise or revisit your will, you must ensure you communicate your intentions in unequivocal terms. Clarifying the directions for your estate gives your beneficiaries less leeway for interpretation. Accounting for all your assets further closes the door on ambiguity. Furthermore, be careful that any comments you make about your estate plans match up with your will’s provisions. Doing so diminishes the chances that your beneficiaries will argue about your wishes. And if you have written several drafts of your will, keep only the most recent one, in case they get confused. Above all else, make sure you sign your will – it may not be valid otherwise.
Probate disputes can cause headaches for beneficiaries. By knowing how they arise, you can take steps to ease the process for everyone involved when the time comes. An estate planning attorney with probate experience can help you do so.