Are there ways to prevent a will contest in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Estates

Although built to keep your affairs in order when you pass on, a will, if contested, may cause heightened hostility among your surviving loved ones and heirs.

Any interested party – a family member, a business connection or any possible heir – may feel unsatisfied or wronged about specific estate matters indicated in your Indiana will. The state provides legal grounds on which these interested parties can base their complaint: undue influence, fraud, improper execution and lack of testamentary capacity. But there are preventive ways to address these reasons so you and your loved ones can spare yourselves from a lengthy and costly litigation process.

Ways to avoid a will contest

Since every estate situation is unique, there are no guarantees that these steps are enough to prohibit interested parties from pursuing a will contest. But it is worth noting that these measures serve as additional safety nets protecting your after-death wishes.

  • Provide context to your decision: You may set a separate meeting explaining why someone’s share is more significant than others or why you cut someone else out of your will. The more they understand your reasons, the less likely they’ll conclude that deception, bribery or coercion happened. Sometimes, a video recording showing you signing the will with only your lawyer present can further validate your actions.
  • Prove your competency through a physical and mental checkup: Lack of testamentary capacity means you were not of sound physical and mental state while drafting and executing the will. So, it will help to secure a medical document signed by your health care provider to establish your health condition.
  • Enforce Indiana’s “no-contest” provision: Also known as “in terrorem clause,” this automatically disinherits an heir trying to contest your will. Assigning them a significant amount disincentivizes them to pursue contesting your will.

Accordingly, interested parties must also carefully contemplate before challenging the validity of your will. If they don’t weigh given circumstances properly, they may face heavier legal burdens than they stand to gain out of the contestation.

A harmonious legacy

Although you’d prefer to breathe your last knowing your family is at peace with how you’ve decided to distribute your assets, disputes will still most likely happen. Therefore, the most you can do is assure them and your heirs that you had your family’s best interests in mind when creating your will. Within your control before your death is seeking legal counsel to ensure your will’s execution is how you intended it to be.