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How to write a will that withstands court challenges

Estate planning is an important consideration for individuals in Delaware at many different stages of life. Making a will is one aspect of estate planning that should be done carefully to ensure that the document is upheld in court. Sometimes, the individual making a will wishes to disinherit a family member. However, this may be a reason to challenge a will. The challenge will be less successful if the family member is named in the will. If the will states that no provisions have been made for that family member, it indicates that the omission was deliberate.

Wills need unbiased witnesses. If witnesses have any conflict of interest, then a court might find the will invalid. Witnesses should also be chosen who are reliable enough to testify effectively in case they need to appear in court and say that the individual was not coerced and understand the will.

Establishing mental competence is another important component of writing a will that holds up. Mental competence does not eliminate someone who suffers from mental illness or another impairment. A person needs to understand who their family members are and what their assets are and that they are choosing beneficiaries to pass those assets on to. They must also understand the general plan for distribution of assets as described in the will. Because of this, the best course of action is to make a will while one is still healthy.

None of these measures will stop a court challenge to a will. However, they may lead to a will that is more likely to hold up against those challenges. An attorney may be able to work with an individual to write a will that observes these precautions.

Source: The Motley Fool, "3 Reasons Your Will Won't Hold Up in Court", Dan Caplinger, June 28, 2014

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