Although one of the main goals of estate planning is to protect your assets and the financial well-being of your loved ones, the truth of the matter is that an estate plan can quickly divide a family. This is especially true when the terms of an estate plan create unequal or perceived unfair distribution. In some instances this leads to challenges to certain estate planning documents, such as a will. Therefore, it is important that Massachusetts’s residents understand how a will and other estate planning documents can be challenged so that they can seek to prevent those issues from arising in the first place.
A challenge to a will or trust can arise in a number of ways. To start, an upset family member may try to claim that you lacked the testamentary capacity to create the will or trust in question. Although an adult is presumed to have testamentary capacity, it can be challenged if an individual can show that you did not understand ramifications of the estate planning document’s creation.
Another challenge may come in the form of an allegation that fraud or undue influence led to the will or trust’s creation. In some cases, those who have a significant amount of control, such as a caregiver, pressure older individuals to create certain estate planning terms that benefit the caretaker.
Even technicalities can derail an otherwise sound estate plan. A lack of witnesses, lack of specification, and a previous estate plan document that was improperly revoked can all cause estate planning nightmares that you want to avoid.
Estate planning is supposed to provide you with peace of mind, not leave you concerned about if and how your loved one’s will fight over your assets. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that your estate plan is as legally sound as possible. Fortunately, skilled estate planning attorneys stand ready to assist in this process.