I’m leaving my estate to my caregiver. Can my family fight it?

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Q. Are there any grounds that my adult children, siblings or ex-wife can contest my living will or the power of attorney that I have signed into effect for my caregiver?
— Planning

A. Family fights over an estate after someone dies is unfortunately not uncommon.

And it could happen.

Third parties may be able to challenge powers of attorney or living wills on the grounds that the principal — the person who appointed an attorney-in-fact or agent — was mentally incapacitated when the document was signed, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

In addition, she said, third parties may be able to challenge a power of attorney on the grounds that the agent abused his or her authority.

Finally, a power of attorney and living will can be challenged on the grounds that the documents were not executed properly, Whitenack said.

“For example, the documents may not have been witnessed by the number of witnesses required by state law or notarized if state law requires notarization,” she said.

You should work with your estate planning attorney to try to limit the success of any challengeshttps://njmoneyhelp.com/2018/09/rights-family-fights-will/ that may come up.

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This story was originally published May 7, 2021.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.