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Avoiding will and trust contests

When people in Nevada are planning how to handle their estates, it is important to make certain the documents drafted are written in such a way to make them unassailable in future will and trust contests. When an interested party to an estate mounts such a contest, expenses can substantially increase, depleting the total amount held by the estate.

Will and trust contests are those lawsuits filed seeking to declare a will or trust to be invalid. If a contest is granted, the court ignores the will and then divides the estate's remaining assets in the same manner they would have been divided if a will or trust had never been written or established. This can effectively pass the assets in a manner not intended by the testator or grantor. People must have standing to file a contest. People who have been disinherited or disadvantaged by the will or trust, for example, have legal standing.

Under Nevada law, people may seek to establish the validity of their estate plan while they are still alive. By doing so, future challenges to the will or trust will be barred.

People who believe there may be a beneficiary who is likely to challenge their estate plan may benefit by discussing the matter with their estate planning attorney. It is possible, by carefully drafting and establishing the validity of the estate plan through court while the person is still living, that such a contest can be avoided. Estate planning attorneys may be able to provide more advice concerning the options available to their clients. By making certain that family members are fully aware of the estate plan, keeping the plan up to date so it reflects all major life changes and choosing to do things like establish discretionary trusts for problem beneficiaries without disinheriting them, the estate plan may be better protected.

Source: Wealth Management, "Will and Trust Contests 101", December 28, 2014

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