Planning is key to helping prevent heirs contesting your will
When you plan your estate, you want to make sure that certain items go to particular people you love or even charities you support. The whole reason people invest in creating an estate plan or last will is to ensure that their wishes will get carried out after their passing. Unfortunately, your heirs may not feel the same way you do about what is fair when it comes to dividing your assets.
When someone feels that an estate plan or last will wasn’t fair or right, it’s possible that your estate could get contested and end up in probate court. Siblings can fight and relationships can get destroyed quickly over even small amounts of money. Take steps in your estate planning to prevent contestations and arguments over your estate.
No contest clauses are not enforceable in Florida
In many states, testators (the one creating a will) will include a special no contest clause. These clauses are meant to penalize heirs who fight for more assets than what was allotted to them in the will. Many times, a testator will include language that specifically says anyone who contests the will loses out on his or her portion of the estate. Florida, however, has a law in place that specifically states such clauses are unenforceable.
There are a number of reasons for the state to do this. One of them is that Florida is home to a larger than average number of retired people. These individuals can get targeted by unscrupulous people who start relationships with the sole intention of inheriting something. When that happens, someone in failing health or declining mental acuity could end up disinheriting other loved ones and family members in favor of a scammer.
Ensuring that family members can contest a will protects the best interests of everyone, except for those who would take advantage of older people who feel lonely.
Talk to your heirs about expectations and desires
The simplest way to ensure that there is no confusion or hurt feelings among your heirs and family members is to talk to them. Maybe you never realized that your niece feels strongly about your dining room table, or that your son wants the classic car you fixed up together. Talking to your heirs about what assets are most meaningful to them can help ensure that everyone feels happy and fairly treated with the outcome of your last will and estate administration.
Those who understand what to expect in terms of an inheritance may be less likely to contest your last will or estate, unless it isn’t getting handled properly. In a scenario with improper administration, it’s good to know that your family and heirs can contest how your estate gets handled to protect your last wishes.