Your estate plan is more than just a will. It includes multiple documents that outline what should happen to your estate after you pass away, and if you have advance directives or living wills, it outlines what your heirs can do while you are living.
What you include in your estate plan should be followed. However, if your heirs do not agree with the information, they may be able to challenge the plans you have created. Understanding why this happens can help you ensure it is avoided.
1. Your mental capacity
As you age, you may experience memory-related issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s. If this happens, your heirs may claim changes were made that don’t reflect what you wanted. In this case, your heirs would request to have an older version of the plan used.
2. Undue influence
Someone may claim that one of your beneficiaries influenced you when creating or updating your will or estate plan. This could happen if they came to you right before you passed and you made changes that left them more assets. In this case, the other beneficiaries can contest the information claiming undue influence.
3. The will was unofficial
If no one saw you create your will or estate plan or if you never filed it, your heirs may claim it is invalid. There may also be another will that your heirs believe should be followed. In these situations, it may be stated that the plan you created was not official, even if you believed it was.
Creating a valid estate plan
Following the proper legal process will help ensure that your estate plan is valid and will be upheld in court. Knowing what to do and why someone may contest your plan can help you avoid these situations.