In every family, you will likely encounter sibling rivalry. However, in some instances, such rivalry might spill into a courtroom as claimants contest the will of deceased parents. Some children may feel that they have not been given what they are entitled to or that others have been favoured at their expense. Even though each state and territory has defined who can contest a will, in most cases, family members such as a deceased spouse, children, dependents, grandchildren, and registered caring partners are often the main claimants. Therefore, when preparing a will, you should work with an experienced solicitor to ensure that such cases do not arise as rivalry can put a wedge between family members. Here are some ways to reduce inheritance disputes when preparing your will.
Anticipate Disputes — There are several reasons a party might challenge a will, and thus, parents should take cognisance of this fact. A person may dispute the validity of your will, especially if you prepare a will when suffering a mental disease that is likely to affect your judgment. In such an instance, the individual disputing the will may argue that you were pressured into signing it without knowing that it was a will. Also, they may argue that the will was not properly signed and witnessed or that you were coerced into making such a will. In such a case, the will can be invalidated by a court after you are deceased. Therefore, make sure you are of sound mind when making the will. A competent medical expert, coupled with your solicitor, can help with the proof required.
Put Assets Outside the Will — Your assets can be passed onto the people that you wish to benefit without necessarily putting them in the will. For example, shares of joint assets can be transferred to the remaining joint tenant in case of your death without reference to the estate or will. The same rule applies to a scenario where you own a joint bank account with a partner, son, or daughter. You can also nominate a beneficiary for your life insurance policy. However, such rules might apply differently from one jurisdiction to the other.
Consideration During Distribution — When distributing your estate, sit down with your solicitor who will advise you to bear a few things in mind. Even though the law does not require that you distribute your estate equally, you must be fair. Give a more favourable share of the estate to those with a superior need for provision. The court will ascertain your relationship with the claimants and whether they are your dependents. Therefore, you should prioritise your dependents before others. Also, only include claimants that were close to you or those you had a special relationship with as the court will want to know the nature of your relationship with the claimant.
To learn more about wills, contact a solicitor in your area.Share