Your will should reflect your wishes for the distribution of your assets, even if it means you wish to exclude certain family members. Sometimes, excluded family members contest the will if they feel unfairly overlooked. Contested wills can tie up your assets and cause conflict in your family.
There are a few things that you can do to minimize the risk of disputes while still excluding those you wish to disinherit.
1. Communicate your intentions
Having open and honest conversations with family members about your estate plans can help reduce surprises later. Explain your reasoning and make it clear your decisions are well thought out and final. Give them a chance to process the information before your death to reduce the risk of disputes.
2. Be fair and consistent
Perceived unfairness is one of the top reasons for contesting a will. Make sure you distribute your assets in a way that makes sense to your loved ones. You do not have to divide things equally, but you should explain any significant discrepancies. Also, ensure your will does not contradict any promises you made or gifts you gave away while you were alive.
3. Directly address any exclusions
If you intend to disinherit anyone that you believe might feel slighted or overlooked, address the exclusions in your will. List the individuals with a brief statement that you excluded them of your own accord and that it reflects your wishes. This reduces the chances that they could contest the will based on an oversight.
With proper preparation, you can reduce the chances of family discord after your passing. The peace of mind is worth the effort.