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Protecting Your Estate Plan from Potential Contests: An Essential Guide

Estate planning is an invaluable process for securing your family’s future and ensuring your legacy is managed as you intend. However, a poorly structured estate plan can be susceptible to challenges and contests after you’re gone. At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel in Central Virginia, we’re dedicated to helping you build an unassailable estate plan that stands up to potential contests.

Understanding the Basics of an Estate Plan Contest in Virginia

An estate plan contest occurs when a person challenges the validity of a will or other estate planning documents. In Virginia, only those with ‘standing’ – individuals who stand to benefit or lose from the contest – can challenge an estate plan. However, it’s not enough to merely be dissatisfied with the terms; a successful challenge requires proof of fraud, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or non-compliance with Virginia’s legal requirements.

Why Estate Plans Are Contested

Contests often occur due to perceived inequities or when beneficiaries believe the decedent was unduly influenced or lacked the mental capacity to make their decisions. A clear, comprehensive estate plan can help preempt these conflicts, and the role of Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel is to ensure your estate plan reflects your true intentions and adheres to all legal requirements.

Key Steps to Safeguard Your Estate Plan

To fortify your estate plan against a potential contest, consider these strategies:

  • Clear Communication: Share your estate planning intentions with your loved ones. Transparent discussions can help mitigate misunderstandings and disputes down the road. If you don’t want to have these conversations, make sure your estate plan documents are drawn up in language that is clear and direct, so that there will be no misunderstanding your intentions after you are no longer capable of expressing them in real time.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your estate plan current to reflect your most recent circumstances and wishes.
  • Professional Assistance: Engage a knowledgeable attorney to ensure your estate plan complies with all Virginia laws and accurately and clearly reflects your wishes.
  • Consider Trusts: Trusts can offer added protection from contests as they are typically harder to challenge than wills.

Preventing Disputes with the Help of Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel

Contests can deplete your estate’s value and create deep family rifts. Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel in Central Virginia is committed to helping you avoid these painful circumstances. Our experience and knowledge in estate planning and elder law can be your safeguard against potential estate plan contests.

Protect Your Legacy with Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel

Investing time now to fortify your estate plan against potential contests can save your loved ones from future disputes and preserve your estate’s value. At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we are here to guide you through this process, ensuring your legacy is preserved as you intended. 

Call Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel in Central Virginia at (434) 589-2958 or in Powhatan at (804) 598-1348 or reach out online to set up a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.