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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Additional advice to avoid will contests and other disputes

Every so often, this blog has offered advice on how Minnesota residents can avoid a situation in which their loved ones and family members get involved a heated probate dispute between themselves. While many of these tips have focused on how people draft a will or trust, there are things that Minnesotans can do beyond the actual drafting of a will that can help prevent a nasty and expensive will contest.

After all, any will, no matter how clear and detailed, can be subject to a legal challenge by any interested party. The idea of the well-drafted will is not to prevent a person from contesting it but to make doing so a financially unattractive proposition. There are other means of making will contests less lucrative and therefore less likely.

For one, a Minnesota resident can carefully consider whom he or she wishes to nominate as an executor of the will. A good executor can be worth his or her weight in gold if he or she is capable of managing the estate properly and promptly. Moreover, a good executor will be able to keep family members well informed and will bring an overall sense that the estate is being managed fairly and according to the established ground rules.

Another way that a person can prevent probate challenges is simply to give away his or her wealth while he or she is still alive. Although this is a good way for a person to maintain control over his or her estate, it also has its drawbacks. There may be tax consequences if the gifts are substantial, and sometimes people are planning to use their wealth to meet their own medical needs.

On the whole, good communication is key if a Saint Paul resident wants to curb the possibility of a will contest during his or her life. Unfortunately, sometimes probate disputes may still happen, in which case the experience of a seasoned probate litigation attorney may prove to be invaluable.

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