When you contest a will, you are doing so so that you can test a will’s validity, such as in its creation process and beyond. Many of these contests are made because somebody believes that the person who made the will was not in the right state of mind or unduly influenced in its creation. Will contests, however, are very difficult because probate courts assume that a will is valid in many cases when it has been signed.
Who Can Challenge/Reasons for Challenge
An interested party is able to challenge a will. This is somebody who might lose or gain something if the will is carried out the way it has been written. Most of the time, you see spouses contesting wills most frequently – however, you do not have to be a spouse to do so. You could be a child, a parent, or another relative involved in the will.
Usually, two reasons are brought up in a will contest: the testator did not have the mental capacity to make the will, or they were forced into making it and signing it by another person. In some cases, unrightful restrictions are brought up, or that there was a forgery involved with the will. If a child has been excluded from their parent’s will, they may bring forth a contest – but this does not always mean they’ll win, as parents are usually permitted to exclude their children.
Procedure in a Will Contest
These cases are a lot like civil law cases, where you go ahead and file a complaint with the probate court. From there, the executor or representative of the will must defend that the will is actually valid. In many cases, there will be attorneys involved, as these cases become quite delicate. The judge will listen to both sides and then make a decision based off of the facts of the case. Perhaps the will was entirely invalid or just partially invalid – then these parts will be changed so that the estate can be distributed as if the will didn’t exist. To go forth with your contest case, you must first make sure there is not a “no contest” clause on the will.
You must carefully consider whether a will contest is right for you in these trying times. Perhaps you feel as if you have been cheated or that your loved one was unfairly talked into the parameters of their will. In these cases, a contest may be the best option for you or your loved one, and we can help. Call us for more information on the role we can play in your case.