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Estate protection tips for crafting the final will

While they may be drafted perfectly soundly, some estate plans made by Florida residents may still be subject to legal challenges. In a recent piece, a former estate planning attorney points to three key issues that may increase the risk of having one's will overturned in court.

Taking care to express the reasons behind favoring some beneficiaries with money and property over others is one tactic for crafting a will that resists litigation. Other factors deemed important by this author include the presence of unbiased witnesses and firmly establishing one's mental capacity at the time of signing.

Witnesses to the signing of the will may become a strong factor in any type of court contest. A biased witness, such as one standing to inherit a portion of the estate, can be deemed inadmissible by the court. Those without a conflict of interest, however, may be called upon to testify as to the will's validity and the mental capacity of the benefactor at the time of signing.

One potential reason for a legal challenge to a will is the benefactor disinheriting a family member. In a case without a last will and testament, direct family members tend to be treated equally in distribution of property. The decision to leave out or prefer a family member can require some special considerations to prevent charges of undue influence and ensure estate protection.

The decisions involved in estate planning are often carefully made benefactors to reflect their desires. Incapacity, fraud and undue influence are all potential threats for heirs, so the legal system makes estate litigation possible. In order to ensure the final wishes are carried out as desired, a number of precautions are suggested depending on the specific circumstances. An attorney with experience in estate planning and wills may be able to provide assistance in crafting a final testament that reduces the possibility of successful will contests.

Source: The Motley Fool, "3 Reasons Your Will Won't Hold Up in Court", Dan Caplinger, June 28, 2014

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