How To Avoid Will, Trust and Estate Litigation

From the outside, all things legal seem rather confusing and it seems as though wills and trusts are more effort than they’re worth. However, this isn't the case because one simple document could save you from having to go through any court proceedings. For example, a will is likely to prevent any arguments over possessions or land and a trust will help to keep any arrangements clear. 

In truth, you should be avoiding litigation in the key areas as much as possible because not only can the process be costly, it can also be time consuming and damaging to personal relationships. Although many people believe it is the best way to go to settle a dispute, you have to spend valuable time away from your job and the court case could actually cost more than the amount you’re fighting over. For this reason, you need to avoid litigation and here are some tips on how: 

Call a Professional - Firstly, the best way to avoid litigation is if you call in a professional and ensure that all your documents are legally binding and stand up should the worst happen. For example, some wills don’t hold up after the person passes away so calling a professional will ensure that the documents are drawn up officially. 

Mediation - If a family member has passed away, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go to court over the will. Instead, you could attend a mediation meeting where both parties attempt to find a middle ground. Although this will still cost money, the cost will be insignificant to the bill that would come with a court case. 

Objective Opinion - In continuation of the previous point, always try and get an objective opinion of the scenario. If this isn't something you can do yourself, get a professional or a third-party who has no involvement in the will, trust, or estate. By doing this, they could find a middle ground that both parties had been blind to. 

‘In Terrorem’ Clause - If you want to avoid litigation with your will or trust, add an in terrorem clause which means that anybody who objects will immediately sacrifice their gift. Of course, this clause isn't worthwhile if the gift is small but will act as a deterrent if the gift is large enough. 

Capacity Test - After getting a major document drawn up, get a capacity test from your doctor as this will let everyone know that you were of sound mind when making the decisions. Then, it will be harder for anyone to contest it because there is no way anyone can use your state of mind as an excuse. 

Professional Mediated Meeting - With wills, trusts and estate plans, this can be a great way to go about things because it allows family and friends to stay in the loop in a professional forum. Rather than gathering everyone at your house, the recipients and beneficiaries will all be in the same room whilst in the presence of lawyers and other professionals. 

So there we have it, some simple tips to avoid litigation. As long as you keep these in mind, you and those around you can stay clear of this costly exercise.