If you're working with an estate planning lawyer, your goal is likely to make things as peaceful as possible for your family members after you die. If there's confusion regarding your legal documents, your loved ones could spend their time fighting amongst themselves instead of comforting each other. To help eliminate the need for a litigation attorney, consider using these tips.
Litigation Attorney Tip #1: Treat All Beneficiaries As Equals
Beneficiaries squabble when they feel as if they're not being treated fairly. If you have two children who have very different income levels, it may seem like a good idea to leave more to the child that struggles more, but this could cause plenty of hurt feelings. Instead treat everyone the same, including families with children. By giving each family the same amount, you'll eliminate hurt feelings and strife.
Litigation Attorney Tip #2: Don't Let Your Loved Ones Be Surprised
If someone is surprised at the contents of your will, they could be tempted to contest it. Instead of allowing your wishes to be a surprise upon your death, make sure that you explain what's inside your legal documents. Additionally, while your lawyer should keep a copy of your documents, it's not a bad idea to give one to all your beneficiaries. This can let them all know what will happen with your assets, but it can also spell out what you want to happen in case you're unable to make medical decisions on your own. This helps ensure that your family members won't argue over medical decisions when you're unable to speak for yourself.
Litigation Attorney Tip #3: Include A Clause To Keep Beneficiaries From Contesting
Anyone can contest a will and some of your beneficiaries might be tempted to do just this if they feel that they were slighted. Instead of leaving this to chance, ask your lawyer to include a no contest clause. This is a very simple clause that states anyone who contests his or her benefits, receives nothing. If a beneficiary wants to contest their inheritance, their portion is forfeited.
Litigation Attorney Tip #4: Draw Up A Will Before You Need It
It's vital that you have your documents drawn up well before you need them. Illness and accidents can happen at any time, leaving you incapacitated. This is why you should complete your legal documents while you're still young and healthy. Ensuring that you're mentally and physically healthy also ensures that your will can't be contested for not being "of sound mind." If you're worried that there may be some questions about your mental health, consider paying a visit to your doctor before you visit your lawyer and getting a clean bill of health in writing.
There may be situations that do call for a lawyer to contest a will. If you feel like your parent or grandparent was taken advantage of, contact a litigation attorney for help. He or she will be able to go over the documents with you to help see if you have a chance of contesting the will in court.