Friday, January 1, 2016
When a person intends to leave large gifts to people that are not their close family members after death they are often in fear that a legal challenge will arise. In a recent case that is discussed by my fellow blogger Kyle Krull, a women left several million dollars to her gardener and took preemptive measures to make sure that estate plan held up. In that case, the measures included providing funds to fight any court battle and evaluation by a psychologist stating that she was mentally competent. However, there are some additional steps that can be taken including meeting with the family member(s) that will be taking less or excluded from the bequest since many people go to court more for their side of things to be told than any expectation of winning. In addition, some states offer ante-mortem probate which allows the will to go through the court system before the testator dies thus preventing post death challenges. In any event, if a legal battle is anticipated it is best to use a grab bag of preventative measure to make sure the estate passes they way the property owner intends.
See Kyle Krull, The Butler Did It, But the Gardner Inherited It, Kansas Missouri Estate Planning Blog, December 29, 2015