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Can you prevent someone from contesting your last will?

If you've taken the steps of creating a last will and estate plan, you likely did so because you have strong preferences about the division of your assets following your death. You don't want people you love to argue over your estate.

Unfortunately, it is common for heirs to contest the last will left behind by a loved one. People who contest estates may feel entitled to more than what they inherited or that someone else should not be a beneficiary of your estate.

Whatever their reasoning, those who contest last wills may subvert the intentions of the person who created it. Don't let your estate planning be in vain! If you want to prevent a probate battle over your estate, you should work with an experienced attorney to create your last will.

Be sure to comply with Florida requirements

In order for the state of Florida to consider your will legal, it must meet certain requirements. That's why it's critical to partner with an estate and probate attorney who understands how to create a legal will. Having a professionally prepared will can reduce the risk of a probate judge considering it invalid or otherwise problematic. If it isn't clear that you signed the will while of sound mind and without external coercion, there could be issues.

The testator (person creating the will) must sign the will. A testator can physically sign or assign another to sign on his or her behalf. There must also be witnesses. Ideally, you began estate planning early in life, not late in life after your health has begun to decline. Preparing your last will when you are younger and updating it as necessary can reduce the risk of someone claiming you were incapacitated at the time of its execution.

Consider adding a provision against challenges to your will

If you feel strongly about preventing the contestation of your last will and estate, you may consider another option. You can have your attorney include a special provision within the division of your assets. Your will can stipulate that anyone who challenges it in court will lose his or her inheritance. You can then, at your own discretion, inform your potential heirs about that clause. Doing so may prevent them from trying to contest your will, even if they otherwise may have.

Protect your estate plan and last will

The best way to create a legal and binding last will and executable estate plan is to create one with the help of an experienced attorney. One who understands estate and probate law can help you with estate planning. When creating a last will with professional legal guidance, you can feel confident that courts will consider your last will valid.

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