You have the right to create your estate plan as you see fit. Yet, sometimes people may try to challenge your decision once you have died. Using a trust is one way of preventing them from doing so.
If you have a child with special needs, you may decide they need more help than your other children. Their costs may be greater, and their ability to earn their may be smaller or non-existent. You might choose to favor them in your estate plan.
If their siblings disagree, they may contest the will. Any challenge could cause considerable delays to the distribution of your estate. It could leave your child unable to access the funds they need to pay for the health care or day-to-day assistance they need.
How can I stop someone from challenging my will?
There are several ways to create your estate plan that reduce the chance of a will contest:
- Insert a no-contest clause: These clauses are officially called “in terrorem” because they aim to strike terror into you and stop you from contesting a will. They threaten you with losing anything you are due to receive if you do so. If you plan to use one, seek legal help to ensure it will stand up in court.
- Use a trust: Assets that you place in a trust do not pass through probate. Thus, other people need never find out the details.
Trusts make a lot of sense to transfer assets to a special needs child. As well as keeping the details private, they protect property from creditors if you die with debt. Depending on how you set up the trust, you can ensure that someone with the right experience manages your child’s inheritance on their behalf — something they might not be able to do alone.