A will is one of the most important legal documents you can ever sign. And when you set aside time to draft one, you hope and trust that it will be implemented to the letter when you die.
However, it is not uncommon a will to become the subject of a costly legal battle. If this happens, your wishes may be derailed and your estate might be negatively affected. But how do you know someone is likely to dispute your will?
Here are common reasons why your will might be disputed:
1. Your will is not properly executed
A will is a legal document. Thus, for your will to become enforceable, it must be properly executed per California laws. This means that you must be at least 18 at the time of signing the document. It also means that your will must be properly witnessed and signed by two non-interested parties. Finally, you must have the testamentary capacity to sign the document.
A will that falls short of these among other validity requirements will, most likely, be disputed.
2. Your will heavily favors one party
If your will favors one heir more than others or excludes some expected heirs, there may be allegations that you were subject to “undue influence” by the favored party.
Someone cannot manipulate, coerce or trick you into creating or modifying your will. If this happens, the resulting document would not be enforceable on grounds of undue influence. Of course, proving undue influence can be a daunting task, especially because this often happens behind closed doors.
Protecting your interests
The best way to protect against these two issues is to have experienced legal assistance when you create your will. That makes certain that your will is properly executed and can reassure the court that you were not coerced into anything.