How to avoid a will dispute

Date: Jun 23, 2014

Death affects people in different ways, which is why it is best not to compound their pain with a confusing or debatable will. 

While there is nothing you can do after you die to avoid a will dispute, there are a number of measures you can take during estate planning to minimise the possibility of this happening.

Keep in mind that the worst thing you can do when estate planning is either attempting to produce the will yourself or not creating one at all. It is therefore imperative that you contact an estate lawyer who can guide you through the process and ensure you have provisions in place.

Here are some more important tips to think about if you wish to avoid a will dispute after your death.

Talk to your loved ones

Although you may believe that you know where life will take your family and friends after you are gone, it is impossible to know for sure. 

This is why it is so important to discuss what assets you currently have and who you plan to pass them onto. There is more of a chance that someone will challenge a will if there has been little or no consultation with them during the estate planning process.

Discussing possibilities will also air any problems or issues before you put them in writing. For example, before making provisions for people to be responsible for your children if you and your spouse die, you should talk to the potential caregivers openly and honestly. If they illustrate that they couldn't cope or aren't willing to look after the children, then it gives you the opportunity to investigate other options.

Update your will consistently

This is a common issue in estate planning, an often occurs when someone creates a will before they are married or have children, then fails to update it with their new life circumstances taken into account.

In this situation, there will be a number of people needing to dispute the will because you simply missed them out. However, if you discuss any changes in your life, such as new businesses, marriages or divorces with your estate lawyer, then there is more chance people will be content with the will.

Remember all assets

Apart from your personal bank accounts and property, there is a whole host of other assets that you need to remember to disclose in your will. Many people forget about these because they aren't dealing with them on an everyday basis or don't see them regularly.

This can include your life insurance policy, superannuation and trusts.

Working alongside a professional estate lawyer will make sure you have all the bases covered in your estate planning, and will minimise disruption to your family at this tough time.