Will Contests - Prediction and Prevention




Beyer, Gerry W.

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Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal


An estate planner must always be on guard when drafting instruments that may supply incentive for someone to contest a will. Anytime an individual would take more through intestacy or under a prior will, the potential for a will contest exists, especially if the estate is large. Although will contests are relatively rare, the prudent attorney must recognize situations that are likely to inspire a will contest and take steps during the drafting stage to reduce the probability of a will contest action and the chances of its success.

This article examines the situations which provide an enhanced likelihood of a will contest and then details the techniques a prudent attorney should consider. An important caveat is in order. Although this article discusses a wide range of strategies that may be helpful in preventing will contests, these techniques vary widely in both cost and predictability of results. There is no uniform approach to use for all clients. Each situation needs to be carefully examined on its own merits before deciding which, if any, of the techniques should be used.



Estate planning, Will contest, Will drafting, Ante-mortem probate


4 Est. Plan. & Cmty. Prop. L.J. 1