When you utilize a last will to direct the future transfers of your assets to your heirs, your estate is going to be probated. This is the legal process during which the probate court that is local to the deceased determines the validity of the will and supervises the administration of the estate.
If some interested party wanted to challenge the validity of the will, he or she could present his or her arguments during probate. Of course, if this takes place the administration of the estate is going to be all the more time-consuming.
The possibility of challenges to a will is something to take into consideration when you are planning your estate. This is one reason why it is not a good idea to use do-it-yourself estate planning downloads and worksheets that you find on the Internet.
One of the grounds for invalidating a last will is that of improper execution. So, if you were to try to create your own last will under the impression that a one-size-fits-all document will be accepted by the probate courts in all jurisdictions and under all circumstances, you may be taking a risk.
Additionally, it is an unnecessary risk because consulting with an estate planning attorney is something that anyone can do quite economically.
Other grounds for challenges include coercion, incapacity, and fraud.
If a last will is challenged, not only will the heirs to the estate have to wait for their inheritances, a great deal of expense can be incurred which will erode the value of the estate. When you keep this in mind, you see that the investment that you make when you engage a licensed estate planning attorney may well save your loved ones money in the future.
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