In today’s society, people are living longer, divorcing and remarrying more regularly and belong to family unit structures that are more fluid than in years past. In previous decades, people in Georgia married, had children, and then created a will that was generally as complete and relevant upon their deaths as it was when it was formed. However, the current dynamic family environments in America have required a fresh look at the creation and language of wills. A recent article offers some tips to help ensure that intended beneficiaries receive what is intended with the least amount of difficulty.
One of the first measures addressed is the inclusion of a no-contest clause in a will. This clause includes language stipulating that those included in the testament lose the right to any benefits if they choose to dispute what is stated in the will. While this will not prevent those left out of the will who wish to seek part of the estate from seeking benefits, it can minimize squabbling among those who are named in the document.
Two other ways to prevent a drawn-out probate process are to verbally inform beneficiaries of the details of one’s will and to get a physician to provide a written verification of the benefactor’s mental health at the time a will is created or changed. Notifying family members or other beneficiaries ahead of time can allow them to know what to expect and will also allow a benefactor to add context as to why certain decisions were made. Likewise, having a physician certify the solid mental state of the benefactor can prevent needless, contentious and time-consuming disputes among heirs.
Finally, the article notes the importance of seeking legal assistance when creating or changing a will. While there are many online options that may seem cost-effective and simple, the rules that govern estate management can be complex and vary widely from state to state. Seeking the advice of an experienced Georgia estate law attorney could be time and money well spent in order to keep the peace between heirs upon one’s passing, and to ensure that one’s wishes are carried out appropriately.
Source: USA Today, “5 ways to make a bulletproof will“, Alex Glenn, Sept. 24, 2016