An heir who might feel left out or cheated of an anticipated inheritance may attempt to contest a will during probate. If the individual challenging the will believes the testator made an error or coercion took place, it may result in a claim against the deceased’s estate.
As noted by U.S. News and World Report, a testator may take steps to proactively avoid challenges to a will. By providing a detailed explanation of his or her property distribution decisions, for example, the chances of a challenge may lessen.
Distributing assets according to plan and avoiding challenges
To help heirs avoid a lengthy probate process or property distribution challenges, an individual may wish to create a living trust or consider adding a beneficiary to financial accounts. Assets may transfer to a trust that an individual may then continue to manage during his or her lifetime. After death, a trustee takes over those duties and manages the trust on behalf of its beneficiaries.
As noted by CNBC, another method to bypass probate involves adding a beneficiary to a bank, investment or retirement account. Typically referred to as a payable-on-death or “P.O.D.” account, its remaining balance transfers to the specified beneficiary without a need for probate when the original owner dies.
Planning for a smooth transition of ownership
A testator has the right to leave assets and property to whomever he or she desires. The benefits of estate planning include the ability to modify a will or trust at any time up until death. If an individual decides to transfer assets while still alive, several methods may provide heirs either with ownership before the testator dies or immediately after.