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Avoiding a future will contest

A will is a way for a person to leave behind their most valuable assets to their heirs. Everyone would like to assume that their relatives will do the right thing after they pass away. Unfortunately, many cases in Florida probate courts involve disagreements about the decedent's will. Careful will drafting can help prevent a family feud later on.

Every will must name an executor. The executor is the person who is in charge of making sure that the will is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased. It is important to choose the right executor based on how organized, ethical and responsible that person is rather than according to family hierarchy.

Personal property can trigger family drama if it is not specifically included in a will. Heirs may argue that the deceased person wanted them to have certain items. Arguments can be prevented by asking heirs to make lists about what they want during the estate planning process so that the will is specific about this property. A clause can be added to the will stating that when the heirs cannot agree who gets to keep personal property, any disputed items must be sold.

Some people choose to delay a bequest of money until survivors reach a certain age or until a surviving spouse passes away. For surviving children who are close in age to the surviving spouse, this could create a long, resentment-filled wait.

An estate planning attorney may be able to help clients draft a will and other documents to help avoid a will contest between the surviving relatives in the future. There may be legal options other than a will to help avoid a future legal battle, such as the creation of a trust. There are many different types of trusts, and an estate planning attorney may be able to assist clients choose which estate planning tools are right for them.

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