Probate verifies a will’s legality, facilitates asset distribution and provides an opportunity for heirs to contest a will. In Florida, no-contest clauses are unenforceable and do not prevent will contests.
Fortunately, these strategies can discourage your heirs from contesting your will and extending the probate process.
Avoid consulting with beneficiaries when preparing your will
Involving anyone who will inherit part of your estate to contribute or be present when you draft or sign your will can increase the chances of a contest. Those who disagree with how you distribute your estate can claim that a beneficiary you include in these steps is responsible for influencing your decisions.
Record yourself reading and signing your will
A relative contesting your will may claim that your signature is fake or question your ability to understand the document’s contents before signing it. You can dispel this concern by creating a video recording of you reading your will and acknowledging its contents before signing it.
Attach proof of your competency
As part of your will creation process, you may consider obtaining a doctor’s evaluation of your mental competence. If you anticipate challenges concerning your judgment, attaching proof that you are of sound mind to your will can go a long way toward countering them.
Create a trust
Creating a revocable trust to hold and distribute your assets can avoid probate because trusts are not part of the public record, unlike wills. Therefore, potential challengers may not be privy to your trust’s contents. Still, it is possible to challenge a revocable trust, though doing so is significantly more complex than challenging a will.
Making your wishes clear to your family members after drafting your will can help them understand your intentions and possibly avoid a will contest.