When to Contest a Will

Posted on the March 2nd, 2013 under Legal Guides by admin

Having a last will and testament drafted helps many people to assign where their assets will go upon their death. At times however, controversy can arise as to the validity of the will and many family members may being quarrelling over whether the will should be honored. While contesting a will is certainly not something that you want to do, there are some times when it may actually be necessary. If you do not feel that the will is valid and you may be a beneficiary, then you have the right to contest the will.

Determining whether or not you are eligible to contest a will is essential before you take any legal action. You must have a stake in the will’s outcome to be considered eligible to contest. If you are a beneficiary or you believe that you should have been included in the will and you will gain financially if you do contest it then you may be permitted to do so.

There are many reasons why someone may choose to contest a will. If it is believed that fraudulent actions took place or in other words if you feel that someone tricked the testator or the person writing the will into signing a document that was not actually their desired will, it can be contested. If you believe that blackmail, threats or other forms of undue influence were used to create the will then it is eligible to be contested as well. Many wills are contested because the family members do not feel that the testator had the proper mental capacity to create the will. In other words, they were not of sound mind when they signed or drafted the last will and testament. Finally, if the procedure for drafting, signing or filing the will was not carried out properly, it can be contested. An example would be if the will was signed but there were no witnesses present.

If you can show that there is valid reason that the will should be contested, then you may be permitted to do so. The court can declare the will invalid if it is proven and any earlier drafts of the will can be admitted to probate. In cases where an earlier version of the will is not available, then the estate is typically divided according to the intestacy laws in the state. Your state’s laws may be different from others so it is important that you take time to learn about the laws that govern your specific state and local region.

Contesting a will is not typically an easy thing to do and not something that most beneficiaries want to do. If you feel that the will in question is invalid for one or more reasons, you can contact an estate attorney who can help you with the process of contesting. An attorney will be able to help you to determine if you are eligible to contest the will and what steps you need to take to do so.

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