When you die, certain individuals may have the legal right to contest your Last Will and Testament. A Will contest must be based on allegations that the Will itself is invalid. Using a “do-it-yourself” Will form found in the internet or at a local stationary store increases the likelihood of a Will contest being filed after your death simply because those forms are frequently not executed properly according to state law or are otherwise deficient based on the laws in the state where you live. If a Will contest is filed and makes it past the preliminary stages, it can end up costing your estate far more than what it would have cost you to consult with an attorney when you prepared and executed your Will.
The emotional cost of a Will contest can often be seen among the surviving family members. People often feel as though they must pick a side which often causes tension. In addition, a Will contest can take months, even years, which can lead to frustration and emotional exhaustion for those who initiated the contest.
The financial cost, however, is something that can be seen right away when a contest to a Will is filed. The estate must defend the challenge to the Will, meaning it will incur significant legal fees and costs. The longer the Will contest goes on, the higher the bill to defend it will be. By the time all is said and done, your estate could lose a substantial amount of money to the Will contest—money that could have gone to your family members and loved ones instead.