Wills are more than just documents. They are the avenue via which you relate your final thoughts, wishes and even regrets. They are the security that your loved ones will be taken care of in the manner you desire. They are the final remnants of your authority, ensuring the distribution of everything you’ve worked hard for in the way you want.
The problem is that wills can be and often are contested, and you won’t be here to fight back. Research shows that anywhere from 0.5-3% of wills end up contested in court. While you may not be here physically to make sure your final wishes are carried out to your specifications, there are things you can do to help your heirs if anyone wants to contest your will.
1. Make a Video
Coercion and mental incompetence are two claims often used as grounds for contesting wills. It is harder to overturn a will if you leave behind video evidence of yourself, obviously in your right mind, explaining why you wrote your will the way you did.
2. Have Witnesses
Having trusted individuals signing off that they watched you sign your will is another way to thwart coercion or undue influence arguments. It makes your will self-proving. While a notary is not legally required for wills in Pennsylvania, having a state notary Pittsburgh PA present can also add to the self-proving nature of your will, making it even more difficult to break.
3. Write a Letter
You can also write a letter explaining in detail all of your decisions. If you leave a token sum to avoid a relative claiming you simply forgot about him or her, make sure to mention that and the reasoning behind it as well. A letter can also help avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings about your intentions if done well.
Your last will and testament is literally your final word. By taking one or more steps, you can help prevent its overturn after your decease.