You shouldn’t procrastinate when it comes to planning your estate. However, the process can seem long and protracted when you get into your estate lawyer’s office and face a bevy of questions. Sometimes, it can even feel like these questions are doing nothing more than keeping you from writing your will, but this interrogation has a purpose. And if you try to skip this process, your beneficiaries could be the ones to pay the price.
Why Attorneys Ask You to Explain Your Estate Plans
Here in California, there are many probate laws governing how an estate is to be distributed after a person’s passing. These codes usually only come into effect if the decedent does not have a will in place, but lawmakers have worked hard to ensure that these rules consider all beneficiaries fairly. That means any estate wishes that deviate from California’s probate laws must be fairly reasoned and explained.
For this reason, many estate lawyers will question their clients about every aspect of their estate plan. If pressed, that attorney will need to explain the decisions made in your estate plan as well as the reasoning behind those conclusions. Otherwise, beneficiaries could question a decedent’s competence or whether they were influenced into arranging their estate in a particular fashion.
If a successor sues your estate claiming that your mental functions were either compromised or influenced, a court could determine how your estate is distributed instead. For this reason, a good estate attorney will not only ask you why you have chosen your particular estate plan, they will also provide options to help prove your competence. This can be done with testimonial letters, video statements or with some other form of verification. Your attorney may even ask to meet with you alone in order to confirm that no other person is influencing your decisions when it comes to your estate plans.
In the end, this diligence will help cut down on challenges to your will or trust, and if a challenge should come against your estate, these measures will help defend it. Still have questions about how to protect your estate? Contact the trust and estate lawyers at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP. We have over 15 years of experience in trust, estate and probate litigation, which means we can help you on a wide range of estate issues.