You develop your estate plan to try to make sure all runs smoothly after you pass away.
It doesn’t always happen that way. Your heirs could take exception to your bequests, upset that you didn’t leave them what they think they deserve. A challenge could ensue.
Maybe your new spouse has gotten the bulk of your estate and your children just a token. Or the opposite. Your new spouse objects to your kids’ share and wants more.
After a death, attorneys in Massachusetts who work with estate cases often are contacted by angry heirs who want to try to reverse the will, but it isn’t easy or inexpensive.
A tough road likely will lie ahead. There will be depositions and maybe countersuits. There definitely will be accusations in the vein of “You’re a gold digger!” and hurt feelings. Relationships could be irreparably damaged.
Once someone decides to challenge a will and file a lawsuit, it needs to be done quickly. There is usually a limited time to contest a will, and if there are several people challenging it, heirs will want to be at the front of the line.
The process will be emotional, and no one ever is fully prepared for it.
Most cases wind up being settled out of court, often because both sides are tired of the fighting and because they want to end the case without the expense and the ups and downs of a trial.
This is just a glimpse at what people can expect if they decide to contest a will. It isn’t pleasant. As you create your will with your estate planning attorney, you might want to consider explaining to your heirs why you made the decisions that you made. They could be less likely to challenge the will down the road, saving a lot of heartaches.