Could Checklists Help Prevent Will Contests?

By Neel Shah, Trusts|Estates|Law posted 05-04-2015 10:58


Although you won’t be around to witness it, a will dispute can be extremely frustrating for your family members. To the extent that you can, it’s a wise idea to set yourself up for success by limiting the opportunities for a will contest to emerge.

Using a checklist is a good way to increase the chances that your will considers all possible options and is developed with the end in mind. If these details are adhered to, there is a reduced chance that your will could be contested down the road. Will contests tend drag out in court, causing unnecessary costs and increasing tension between family members. By taking care now, you stand to help your family members avoid this and be able to focus on grieving. 

Your accurate will checklist should be reviewed each time that you update the document. It’s a good idea to review your will at least annually in the event that things have changed since your last version. Make sure that each time you generate a new version you have verified the existence of:

  • A witness name
  • The date the will was signed
  • The time that the will was signed
  • The names and addresses of all people present for the signing of the will
  • The location where the will was signed
  • Any necessary elements for testamentary capacity

The testamentary capacity can vary state to state, but generally requires some acknowledgement that the individual making the will comprehended property, the process of making a will, family members, and how the will distributed his property. Contact us at [email protected] for further details.