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How To Lawsuit-Proof Your Estate

Estate PlanningWhether or not you anticipate conflict; properly establishing your wishes can prevent squabbles among beneficiaries. The following list is paraphrased from an article by Ashlea Ebeling. For the full article go here.






1. Treat siblings equally.
Three children should equal one third shares. This will help prevent arguments.

2. Decide who gets which treasure.
Itemize your estate. Include a bill of sale to help validate if a court battle arises.

3. Keep track of loans and advances.
It is best to have all loans and advances in writing.

4. Transfer a business with a contract.
If you wish to leave a business to one or more children, enter into a contract to sell the business while you are alive.

5. Check ownership of what you have.
Ensure that you personally own the items in question. For example, the cabin you leave to your child is owned by you, not owned by the family business.

6. Get your own lawyer.
Problems are more likely to arise if the same lawyer who did your estate is also representing one or more of your children.

7. Consider a corporate executor.
Siblings are less likely to quarrel if the estate is handled by a third party rather than a “favorite”.

8. Establish you’re of sound mind.
Get an evaluation and documentation immediately before signing. Be wary of video, you never know what it will look like to a third party observer and may provide more questions than answers.

9. Include a “no contest” clause.
If you provide value to those who may cause trouble, including a clause stating that anyone contesting the will forfeits all interests will help quiet potential troublemakers.

10. Spell out any disinheritance.
Make it clear who is being left out. Include a reason only if it will not be challenged, i.e. do not include “He gets nothing because he married so-and-so”.

Lastly, don’t delay!

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