Age Gracefully With A Plan In Place

Addressing your caregiver in your estate plan

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Including a caregiver in your estate plan is certainly your right. However, if not handled properly, this decision can be challenged by other beneficiaries or family members. As such, you’ll want to take some steps to effectively address your caregiver in your estate plan to minimize the risk of disputes arising down the road.

For example, you’ll want to clearly define the caregiver’s role and contributions. Document the caregiver’s duties, the duration of their service and any special circumstances that justify their inclusion in your estate plan. Even if your family is already aware of these details, documenting them will help the court to understand why you made the decision you did and how it fits into your broader estate planning vision.

Additional considerations

When drafting your will or trust, you’ll want to use precise and unambiguous language to describe the caregiver’s bequests. Specify the exact nature of the gift, whether it’s a sum of money, a piece of property or another asset. Avoid vague terms that could be open to interpretation. Clear, specific language helps to prevent misunderstandings and reduces the likelihood of disputes.

Engaging in open communication with your family and other beneficiaries about your intentions can help prevent conflicts later too. Explain your reasons for including your caregiver in your estate plan and the specific contributions they have made to your well-being. This transparency can help family members understand your decisions and reduce the likelihood of probate challenges later on.

Finally, you may want to consider including a no-contest clause in your will or trust. This clause can deter beneficiaries from challenging your estate plan by stipulating that anyone who contests the will forfeits their inheritance. While not foolproof, a no-contest clause can be an effective deterrent against frivolous challenges.

By taking these steps – and perhaps formally documenting your mental capacity at the time that you take them – you can honor a caregiver in ways that are unlikely to be challenged successfully once you’re gone.