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What discrepancies might give rise to a will contest?

Even if beneficiaries are not fighting over an inheritance, might there be a reason for them to contest a will or trust? An attorney that focuses on estate planning knows that answer to be yes.

For example, unintended results may result when an individual creates a will or trust without an attorney’s help. Alternatively, an individual may have consulted with an attorney but failed to periodically update his or her estate-planning documents. Perhaps last-minute revisions to an estate-planning document, unilaterally made by the grantor without assistance from an attorney, resulted in discrepancies. 

Any of these scenarios might give rise to a legal action to contest a will or trust. However, not everyone can bring a legal action to challenge a will or trust. For example, an unrelated third party, such as a close friend who was not named in any of the documents and who would not have inherited under the state’s intestacy laws, might lack standing to contest a will or trust. 

According to a recent article, there are actual scams attempting to encourage retirees to create or revise estate-planning documents. One such scam targets senior citizens through so-called investment breakfasts or lunches. The information presented at the seminars might involve living trusts or retirement planning vehicles, like annuities. However, the real purpose of the seminars might be to encourage follow-up meetings on a one-on-one basis, where the financial information of the senior citizens can be collected.

Is there a moral to this cautionary tale? An attorney that focuses on comprehensive estate planning, including wills and trusts, would advise clients to consult with an attorney before signing any documents at so-called investment seminars.

Source: Insurance News Net, “Beware The Living Trust Scam That Targets Elderly Investors,” Cyril Tuohy, Nov. 7, 2014

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