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How can I make sure my heirs won't challenge my will?

While the majority of wills are never challenged, once you are gone, you have no possibility of ensuring that yours is not. The time to do it is now. There are steps you can take to make sure your will is upheld, and that your heirs do not challenge it.

First, make sure that your will is drawn up correctly. Have an estate attorney draw it up for you. He or she can explain all the possibilities of probate litigation, and can make sure the will uses exact and precise wording so there is little chance of anything being misconstrued. Your attorney can also help you to properly place values on your assets.

Also, make sure you have your will drawn up now while you are in a sound state of mind. You cannot predict tomorrow. A freak accident or illness can leave a person incapacitated or with cognitive issues, and unfortunately, we are not given a warning before these type of accidents or illnesses occur. Most of us live as if "it won't happen to us."

When you execute or update your will, make sure the will is dated and properly signed. Also make sure there are no older wills that still exist. If you are updating a will, the previous version should be destroyed. In most cases, the most current will overrides a previously dated will, but if there is a dispute over the validity of the later will, the previous will could be upheld.

Letting your heirs know your wishes, who your attorney or executor is, and where your important documents are located is also a good idea. This is especially important if you have changed locations, changed executors or attorneys, or changed anything in relation to your will that your heirs have had previous knowledge of.

Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," accessed Dec. 24, 2015

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