Having your Will or Trust contested after your passing can derail your final wishes, wipe out your estate and tear your loved ones apart. Have no fear, all of that can be avoided with some proper planning.
Here are some tips for avoiding that potentially disastrous Will or Trust contest –
This isn’t the time for DIY. If you are concerned about an heir contesting your estate plan, the last thing you want to do is attempt to write or update your Will or Trust on your own. Only an experienced estate planning attorney can help you put together and maintain an estate plan that will discourage lawsuits.
Don’t be secretive. When it comes to estate planning, secrecy breeds contempt. Talk to your family, tell them about your plan. While it is not necessary to let your family members know all of the intimate details of your estate plan, you should at least let them know that you have taken the time to create a plan that spells out your final wishes and who they should contact if you become incapacitated or die.
Discretionary Trusts can protect your beneficiaries, whether they think they need protecting or not! Not comfortable with the amount you may be leaving to your 20 year old, “Rock Star” grandson? There’s no need to completely disinherit him! There are other options than completely disinheriting someone. For example, you can require that his share be held in a lifetime discretionary Trust and name a third party, such as a bank or trust company, as trustee. This will insure that he will only be entitled to receive Trust distributions under terms and conditions you have dictated. You will also be able to control who will inherit the balance of the Trust if he dies before the funds are completely distributed.
Don’t create your estate plan and then forget about it. Estate planning is not a one-time transaction – it’s an ongoing process. You need to make a conscious effort to keep your estate plan updated. At Oakstone Law, we build annual reviews into our estate planning packages to help ensure your plan stays up-to-date. A current estate plan shows that you have taken the time to review and revise your plan as your family and financial situations change. This, in turn, will discourage challenges.
About Oakstone Law, PL
Oakstone Law PL was founded by Bob Kleinknecht. A member of the Florida Family Trust Company Subcommittee, the Estate Tax & Trust Planning (ETTP) Committee and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law (RPPTL) Section of the Florida Bar, Kleinknecht has 15 years’ experience.
Prior to founding Oakstone law, he spent more than eight years serving as a personal, in-house estate, tax and charitable planning attorney for a Forbes 400 family in New York and Florida. Before that he was an estate planning and estate settlement attorney with prominent firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. after beginning his career with a boutique firm in Naples, Florida.
Licensed in Florida and Massachusetts, Kleinknecht has developed a practice model that eliminates billing by the hour and offers a streamlined, customized client process supported by technology, security and a personal approach.
For more information on Oakstone Law, click here. To get in touch with us, click here to send us an email, or call 239-206-3454. Our office is located at 5137 Castello Drive, Suite 2 in Naples, Florida 34103.