Find an Expert Witness

Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Expert Witness: How to Properly Plan for Wills and Estates to Avoid Contest

Planning for the future when death is inevitable is often fraught with complications when there are family members that may contest the last will and testament of the deceased.

When drafting these documents, it is important to ensure they are valid, full of clauses that are clearly understandable and free of vague wording just the same as other legal paperwork. While it is important to have a more than one witness and a lawyer present when completing these documents, someone that may be relied upon in a court room setting to refute the contesting of the will is imperative. A professional that has a background in legal documentation such as wills may be necessary to prevent assets being allocated to family or other persons that are undeserving according to the person creating the file.

Before a will is created, the person should research the best methods to prevent possible contests from others that may feel they are entitled to rewards after the person dies. When the weight of the witness is placed before the statements of those seeking compensation or a door to the assets left behind, it is possible that contesting the will may fail. However, there are other safeguards that may cause a claim to fail before it gets as far as the court room. This may be accomplished through the use of an expert witness with extensive knowledge in legal documentation, court proceedings and which clauses may be needed to protect against others attempting to obtain the monies left after death.

Estate Planning

Many contests to a will are accomplished to ensure it is valid, was created with the individual of sound mind and to ensure the proper persons are allocated what the deceased felt was appropriate. However, this is a lengthy process that may cause complications to the correct individuals receiving their monetary assets that may be much needed. Because of this, it is vital that the person drafting the will starts an estate plan early and follows through with certain steps. This usually means that the will should be created as soon as possible. This is to refute claims that the person was not of sound mind when writing the statements and who gets what.

Another method of avoiding contests to a will for possible mental incapacity is to use either a power of attorney or an advanced directive. These may be accomplished through documentation to ensure both legal and monetary decisions made are taken over by another in case the person is no longer of sound mind or body and cannot perform his or her proper duties.

Additionally, witnesses should always be chosen with great care. Many contests are made because certain members of the family feel that the individual or persons that witnessed the will be created had a greater influence over the terms of the will than the person drafting the document. This may lead to successful opposition. Any witnesses used to view the creation or signing of the file should not be a beneficiary of the assets. These individuals have more influence over what is written in a will than most others. An unbiased or swayed party is best to use to avoid contests being raised. An estate planning lawyer should be present as well to ensure that the wishes of the individual are carried out.

Trusts and State Laws

One manner of averting the potential conflict of someone fighting over what is provided through a will is to reduce the amount in assets that is dispersed through the document. It is possible to place land, buildings and even money into trusts which may be transferred to beneficiaries. These also provide a manner that makes transferring the property and assets faster. It is also best to ensure that the laws of the state that the individual resides in are reviewed for any possible issues. This means that if there is a specific stipulation that requires certain persons officiating a will, they must be present. Other processes must be adhered to for the document to be valid.

Expert Witness Assistance with Will Creation

When estates need to pass to various persons, an expert witness may be used for the observance of the drafting of the document, the person’s signature on the paper and if he or she is needed in the court room. These professionals are unbiased and have knowledge and experience in these matters to make them the perfect witnesses and for use in the future if needed.

Provided by

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Find an Expert Witness