One of the biggest reasons people decide to get estate plans is to make sure their property goes where they want after they pass away. Because of this people often try to make sure their estate plans cannot be legally challenged.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to avoid all legal challenges to an estate plan. Anyone can file a lawsuit. However, you can take steps in your estate plan to make it less likely that any challenges will succeed.
The Washington Blade recently discussed some ways of doing that in “Myths of estate planning,” including:
Always keep your will up to date. Make sure it reflects your current life situation and does not contain provisions that would give assets to people who have long since passed away.
You can include a no-contest clause in your will providing that anyone who challenges the terms of the will receives nothing from it. However, be advised that courts have the power to strike out these clauses if they think a challenge was made in good faith.
Keep a copy of older wills just in case your current will is ruled invalid. The old will might then be declared valid.
Take whatever steps necessary to document your “legal capacity” at the time you execute your will, so it will be forever clear you were competent to do so and were not being unduly influenced by anyone.
Reference: Washington Blade (Aug. 12, 2016) “Myths of estate planning,”