One of the biggest reasons someone creates a will or trust is so that they can choose the people that will receive their assets. So, the last thing you want is for your will or trust to be changed after you are gone. When a will or trust is challenged in court, it is called a will or trust contest. A will or trust contest begins when someone who has an interest in the estate, most often a family member, challenges the validity of the will or trust after the creator of the document has passed away.
There are many reasons that a will or trust might be contested, such as the assertion that the creator of the document did not have contractual capacity when it was signed. Another big reason a will or trust is challenged is when someone believes the document was signed under duress. More often than not, will or trust contests based on these reasons are thrown out of court because of a lack of proof. But, if you are interested in making sure that your will or trust is rock-solid, there is one thing you should consider: a will or trust contest is more likely to happen if the deceased had a long track record of changing or revoking their will or trust. This can indicate that you were being influenced or did not understand what you were signing.
Take note: things DO happen that require you to change your will or trust. In fact, we encourage you to review your entire estate plan every 3 to 5 years and update it if you have had any life events such as births, deaths, marriages, or divorces that impact your legacy.
However, changing your will or trust too often for reasons that some might consider trivial, such as a temporary family argument, could mean that a judge would be more likely to hear the contest. If the judge agrees with the person who contested the will or trust, they could choose to default to a previous document which may not align with your wishes.
Your will and trust are important parts of your estate plan and should be carefully considered. If you do want to make changes, you should consult with experienced San Jose Estate Planning Attorneys so they can make sure that all proper protocol is followed. This will greatly decrease the chances that someone will be successful in contesting your will or trust. We can help give you peace of mind that everything will be distributed as you intended after your death. Contact our office at (800) 244-8814 to schedule a consultation.