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I just don't want my siblings who abused me horribly for years to get any part of my estate. They are very wealthy and would easily be able to hire a lawyer to contest my will just to get the peanuts in my estate, which I plan to leave to charity and my ex spouse/friend.

If you do not want your abusive siblings getting a piece of your estate then make sure the lawyer who did your will knows what he's doing and that they are kept out. The language and wording of a will is very important. When people with assets really want to keep family members out, they leave one dollar apiece to them in a will. That way they can't try to make the next of kin argument that was forgotten about. They have to be mentioned in it. Just do that.
Unless you're married or have a kid others (namely your siblings) will be able to lay claim to your money and property as your next of kin. Your will has to name each one of them. That way they won't be able to interfere with your wishes. You don't have to put in the part about them behaving abusively. You can but what's more important than that is making sure the lawyer you use is good at what he does, and makes that will air tight to keep your siblings out.
Tell your siblings exactly what you think of them while you're alive. This way you'll get some satisfaction from it that you won't get when you're dead. Then leave a letter with the lawyer telling them again. He'll read it to them at the reading of the will.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Does your state allow irrevocable living trusts? If so, in many states you avoid probate entirely and upon your death all the registered assets go to the designated beneficiaries. That way your siblings can't contest the will because there isn't one. You can check with an attorney who specializes in estate planning
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ACaringDaughter Apr 9, 2021
Individuals can still contest in a trust situation. Instead of suing the executor, they sue the trustee.
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To be perfectly clear to anyone who is assigned to complete your last wishes/will, a simple statement such as 'For personal reasons, I have intentionally left (named siblings) out of my will'. The atty who helps you prepare will will know correct wording for your state to indicate that you acknowledge your siblings and to say you are of sound mind in your decision to leave them nothing from your estate.

If you choose to do a final 'get even' with them, write each one a letter to be mailed upon death with copy of the letters in a sealed envelope - marked not to be opened unless siblings protest the will.
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Discuss it with the lawyer. Personally, I would specifically leave them nothing without specifying why. It's like dealing with a pushy salesman: "No." is a complete sentence; they don't get a specific reason to contest.

I would suggest that you focus on making your incapacity and estate planning as ironclad as possible:
- Who makes decisions regarding your medical and personal care? Name a backup and specifically exclude the siblings.
- POA for finances. Also name a backup. Add a trust institution or professional fiduciary as a final back up.
- Check your beneficiaries on retirement accounts etc.
- Notify your property manager in writing who has your spare key and is allowed to handle your affairs, care for your pets, retrieve your property ... again specifically exclude the siblings.

Recheck annually and provide fresh copies as needed.
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Your will is your will. You can do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter what other people think. You can even exclude the people who don’t show up for your funeral if you like.

Make changes now.

Pick an emotionally strong person who is dedicated to your wishes to serve as your executor. Don’t pick someone who will “cave.”

Wills are contested generally on the basis of fraud (by some beneficiary or executor), capacity of the testator (if you can’t think clearly, you are not generally allowed to change your will) and undue influence (by some beneficiary over you - to convince you to change your will).

Every state has slightly different laws, but only those people who would have received under your relevant state(s)’ laws (anywhere you hold assets counts) without a will, or under any of your previous wills) can sue in the first place. So don’t bother writing out irrelevant people.

Hire a competent lawyer. Hire a lawyer so young in a firm so solid that they will likely still be practicing and in business when you pass away. Make sure your will is easy to understand, even if you aren’t a lawyer. Drive yourself to the appointment. Pay for the appointment yourself. Give a sealed copy to your executor.

Tell people who are not involved about your decision to exclude. Give your executor a list of the names and contact numbers of these witnesses in a sealed envelope. Police officers, bankers, close, long-term friends who are disinterested parties —people who have credibility are good to include (no need to bother with wimps who don’t like to get involved).

Hire an independent filmmaker to video you explaining your will and keep a copy of that recording with your will. List all the reasons you want to exclude them. Your reasons don’t have to be nice or polite— you only need to be clear and competent. Again, make the appointment, drive yourself there, don’t invite your executor- make this independent.

I am an executor who successfully defended a will. The video and witness list would have helped a lot.

Leave the executor extra money to cover legal defense fees in case they are sued personally also! Laws that allow for these “double” parallel lawsuits (sue executor as executor and also personally) are becoming more common in the US.

Holding assets jointly is a good idea and does avoid taxes and probate, but the downside is the holder could wipe out the account or take over while you’re still alive.
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As I stated here in response to another post: avoid probate all together. Change your bank accounts to joint with your friend; they go to that person upon presentment of a death certificate to the bank/institution that holds the money. If you own property, transfer title to joint tenancy with right of survivorship to your friend. You will have to trust that said friend will leave what you ask to your charity of choice. If you have life insurance/IRA funds, designate a beneficiary to whom the funds go: you could leave money to your charity of choice this way. this will avoid probate. People think if they have a will then everything will be fine; but wills still have to be probated in court. Best to avoid probate at all.

Caveat: siblings can go to court and fight it no matter what you do; they can claim you weren't competent when you put the title in your property into joint tenancy, etc.........but prevailing would be much more difficult and expensive for them.

I am not a lawyer but have had personal experience with this.
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MJ1929 Apr 7, 2021
Put a house in joint tenancy, and that person who survives her could be hit with some serious capital gains taxes when they sell.

Not a good idea.
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I don't think a Will contents should be contested. That is what the person wants and their wishes should be carried out. Now, the accting can be contested.

Siblings, IMO, usually aren't considered in Wills. If there is no Will, in my State, it goes Spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings then parents.

Like said, make ur Will as ironclad as possible. Even if u put in because of the abuse at the hands of my siblings I am not leaving them or their children any part of my estate.
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Tothill Apr 7, 2021
In my family one Will was contested as it gave someone who had undue influence over the family member control of the estate. He was not a relative and was known for plying the elderly uncle with whiskey.

He was a local realtor and it soon became evident that he had finagled his way into the estates of other single elders.
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Make your will. State that they won’t be left anything. I wouldn’t even state why they aren’t included.

They know why.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of hearing your disappointment after you are gone.

Think about the letter too. Do you really think it would make a difference to them? It may even bring them joy!

If you want to write a letter for therapeutic reasons, do so but consider not mailing it. Some people write their feelings down in a letter but do not mail it to the person.

Wishing you well. May you find peace.
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marymary2 Apr 7, 2021
Thanks, NeedHelp. Your advice is spot on - no mailing it ever! They wouldn't even read it.
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If you have only peanuts in your estate to begin with, then there will be no real assets to fight over. I'd write up a simple will leaving your assets to charity & your ex spouse/friend, as you mentioned, and a lovely letter to your siblings stating your feelings about them in black & white. Outline the reasons why you've left them nothing, how they've made you feel during your lifetime due to their horrible abuse, and get it all off your chest that way in the process. Nothing will ever erase what you went through, but it's cleansing for YOU to write it all out and to know they'll get to read it once you leave this Earth for the next leg of your journey.

Best of luck.
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marymary2 Apr 7, 2021
Thank you. I'll try the writing it out. Great advice.
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The method for disinheriting while acknowledging a potential beneficiary is to request an attorney use an "in terrorem" clause.  

"An in terrorem clause is a clause in a will which asserts that if a devisee challenges the will, the devisee will not receive her devise. In effect, the in terrorem clause creates a conditional devise, given only if the will is not challenged. Often the purpose of the in terrorem clause is to stop any potential contestants of the will by offering them payment in the form of a devise."

From what I've read, the minimum devise can be $1.00.

In other words, a bequest can be made, but if the beneficiary challenges it, that bequest will NOT be granted.   

Curious though, if your siblings are very wealthy and you're not, why would you think they would challenge your will?   

And please find a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney to prepare the will.   Some folks consider preparing their own will, or downloading something from online.   This isn't the best way to go if you have concerns about relatives challenging the will.
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AlvaDeer Apr 7, 2021
They likely would still contest as the loss of that 1.00 wouldn't be much loss to them. So I never get that 1.00 thing. But it sure does make ones feelings clear. I find when they go to contest their whole thing is to tie it all up in court, so that the case money goes to lawyers, and the houses can't be kept up, cleared, sold, and etc. People can be so mean in cases like this. I sure agree the idea is to get this will done professionally and well done.
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Your lawyer will give you advice about the very best way to word this. In some states it is thought that one should, in a will, say that a certain child is left out, and give a reason. Some say you need only mention the child left out and not give a reason. And some say that you should give a very small and nominal amount to another child. This says that you WERE AWARE the child existed and it was your express wish to leave this exact amount. When a will is contested (and if you have wealthy children they may WELL decide to contest, as they can afford to lose) it is crucial it be done WELL, and this means it is crucial that it be done by a lawyer who can guess all the arguments that child will use in court to get your money. Another way to be certain that money goes to a particular child is to leave accounts as My Name, POD to This Specific Child. That means that CDs or accounts will go to that child upon your death with no more than their presenting their identification and your death certificate.
Wish you good luck. If there is substantial money you are leaving when you pass it is best to hire a professional now to be certain that it is given exactly as you wish.
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marymary2 Apr 7, 2021
Thanks, AlvaDeer. I have no children as I was beholden to my mother who sabotaged any relationships I had including friends. Only my siblings. Good tips for anyone though.
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Yes, you can put about anything in a will.

My mom actually has a 'bill' in hers for my YB and for me. Somehow we 'owe' the trust money for who knows what? It's not legal, being written on a piece of paper and not notarized.

My son, who is an attorney, calls this a posthumous FU. It's just hurtful. I am just glad I found it before mother dies.

My grandmother had in her will a statement saying "anyone who contests any contents of my will, will receive $1 and my eternal disdain." This was absolutely legal and written specifically for my aunt who is a real pill. And Aunt B knew it.

A good lawyer can express that in language that can be legal and binding and not breakable.
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SoVeryExhausted Apr 7, 2021
Eternal disdain. Lol. I need to use this.😈
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Are you working with a lawyer? I would draft a very specific will and make sure that your wishes are honored. Once you draft a will take it to a lawyer and express to them that you want your will to be "iron clad" and "uncontestable" they will know the legal wording that ensures that your relatives can not take it to court.
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marymary2 Apr 7, 2021
Thanks.
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