Each individual has the right to decide what happens with their estate when they die and who, if anyone, can have access to it. Wills and trusts are ways that a person can better ensure that their true wishes for how their estate’s distribution should take place, actually happen. Sometimes, life and relationships change. When a person initially has someone included in their estate plan in California, it does not mean that individual will be guaranteed to stay in it.
Should you decide that you want to disinherit someone from your will or trust in California, you can always meet with your estate planning attorney to update your wishes. Also, if you want to make sure that there are no legal challenges after you pass, you can include a no-contest clause in the documents. Doing so would mean that if a beneficiary included in your estate plan files a pleading in court, they would be doing so at the cost of their inheritance.
How Does Disinheriting in California Work?
When a beneficiary is said to be “pleading” that means that they are making a legal claim, petition, or another type of objection to the terms of the documents. There are many reasons to motivate a person to develop an estate plan for how they want their wealth to be dealt with when they die. One of the most common reasons for doing this is so that after death, assets are distributed per the wishes of the deceased with as little fanfare as possible.
When a person dies, the loved ones left behind will often be in a place of distress. The emotional toll of losing a family member is one thing. If a final plan has not been put in place before a person’s death, then the legal challenges that can ensue can be an additional burden on an already grieving person. When a plan has been put into place, this can remove that legal responsibility and stress.
Wills or trusts that use a no-contest clause disincentivizes beneficiaries from bringing forth legal challenges to the terms of the document. But, in some cases, an objector may have grounds for their claims such as in the case of when final documents could have been invalid:
- The documents were forged.
- The deceased did not have the mental capacity to make decisions.
- The deceased was under duress when the documents were made.
- The deceased was intoxicated when the documents were put together.
- Disqualifying a particular beneficiary.
It is critical to have an estate plan and all documentation put together with as much detail as necessary to preserve the intent of the individual who is planning for their assets after death. This may mean that a no-contest clause is included with any and all new amendments that are made.
Call a California Estate Planning Attorney Today
To establish a trust, will, or properly make changes to any of the provisions in your trust, the Los Angeles business attorneys at Leiva Law can help. Call the attorneys at Leiva Law today to schedule a free consultation at (818) 519-4465.