If you've decided that you're going to contest a will, the decisions that you make leading up to hiring a probate lawyer and moving forward can have a big impact. One decision that you'll need to make is whether you'll contact one of the beneficiaries in advance. There are several reasons that you may want to do so. For example, if an estate was divided between two people, and you believe that one person deserves the money but the other doesn't, you might think about contacting the former individual to discuss the situation. Here are some pros and cons about making this contact.
Pro: You Might Be Able To Work Together
If you make contact with the beneficiary in question and express your intentions, he or she may immediately take your side — believing that the other beneficiary doesn't deserve the money and that you do. Not only will you feel good about talking about this situation with someone before you take legal action, but he or she may even help you with legal fees if he or she believes that you're in the right.
Con: It Reveals Your Intentions
It's often a good idea to avoid contacting any party that is involved in the distribution of assets from a will. You generally want your legal action to come as something of a surprise, as this can put the beneficiaries on their heels as they scramble to fight back against your contesting of the will. When you make contact and discuss your plans, you're revealing your intentions perhaps more than you should.
Pro: Getting His/Her Blessing Can Be Important
There are all sorts of emotions that go into contesting a will, especially when different family dynamics are involved. You may feel a sense of guilt about contesting a will for various reasons. When you speak to one of the beneficiaries before doing so, you may get this person's blessing. Even if the person won't provide financial support or otherwise get involved, he or she may tell you that you're in the right for contesting it.
Con: There Might Be A Conflict
You don't always know how people will respond when you discuss this subject matter with them, and there's a chance that contacting the beneficiary won't go well. This person might be upset about your intention, and attempt to make you feel bad about it — perhaps saying that you're greedy or not respecting the deceased individual's final wishes. Such a conversation might make you feel shaky about proceeding.