A major concern for many people is that their loved ones will get embroiled in time-consuming, and costly, litigation after they pass away. This is why it is important to take certain steps before you pass on to ensure your estate is not the subject of a lawsuit.

Tip No. 1 – Compile an Exhaustive List of Your Estate Assets (and Liabilities)

If your estate plan is vague or does not address a valuable asset, it creates the risk of a beneficiary opting to pursue a will challenge in an effort to obtain that asset. This is why it is so important to take a full inventory of your assets and liabilities to ensure all of your accounts and properties are included and clearly addressed in your estate plan.

Tip No. 2 – Make Sure To Include Precious Family Heirlooms

You may be surprised to learn that many legal disputes involving a loved one’s estate do not focus on high-value stock options, accounts, or properties. Instead, a dispute may develop over who gets the family silverware or a family painting. For example, the estate of the late comedian Robin Williams was subject to a protracted legal battle between Mr. Williams’ children and his wife. The dispute included who had the authority to obtain specific sentimental items including a watch that was worn by Mr. Williams and a bicycle that was conveyed as a wedding gift, according to the LA Times.

Tip No. 3 – Select a Qualified Individual, or Individuals, to Manage Your Estate

Having an effective executor, or trustee if you are utilizing a trust as your primary estate planning tool, is absolutely critical in reducing the risk of a will dispute. A competent and qualified executor should be able to reach out to all of the affected parties and beneficiaries to clearly set forth the terms of your estate plan and be able to resolve disputes before they escalate to litigation.

Tip No. 4 – Add a “No Contest” Clause to Your Estate Plan

This is a provision you can include in your will that can be triggered if a beneficiary contests the validity of your Will. If a challenge is made, that beneficiary will lose their right to inherit any of your assets, according to The Balance.  

Speak to an Experienced Renton Estate Planning Attorney

If you need assistance coming up with an estate plan, schedule a meeting with the Law Offices of Dan Kellogg PLLC today. For more than four decades, Dan Kellogg has been practicing law throughout King County and Washington. His legal team is ready to assist.