Challenging a Will – When and How to Do It

In Estate & Probate by Larry DonahueLeave a Comment

Understanding the process of contesting a will can be challenging. When should you consider contesting a will? What are the grounds for contesting a will? And how do you go about challenging a will once you have decided to do so? Here, we’ll break down each step of the process so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to your legal rights.

When Should You Contest a Will?
A will is presumed valid if it has been properly executed in accordance with state law. This means that if all formalities have been followed and all parties involved were legally competent, then the court is likely to uphold the provisions of the will. However, there are some circumstances under which you may be able to challenge or modify a will, such as when there is evidence of fraud, duress, or undue influence. If any of these factors are present, then it may be possible to invalidate certain provisions of the will or even void it entirely.

Grounds for Contesting a Will
The most common reasons for contesting a will include lack of testamentary capacity (i.e., mental incapacity), fraud, duress, and undue influence. Fraud occurs when someone makes false representations in order to influence another person into making changes to their estate plan. Duress occurs when someone is forced into making changes to their estate plan under threat of harm or injury. Undue influence happens when someone uses their power over another person in order to manipulate them into changing their wishes regarding who should receive what from their estate upon death.

How Do You Challenge a Will?
If you believe that one or more of these factors is present in your case and that you have standing (i.e., legal right) to challenge the validity of the will, then it’s time to begin gathering evidence and preparing your case for court. To do this, you should consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in wills and trusts litigation as soon as possible—the sooner the better! Your attorney can help ensure that all deadlines are met and that your case has enough evidence to support your claim(s). Additionally, they can help negotiate on your behalf if settlement discussions become necessary during litigation proceedings.
Conclusion: In conclusion, understanding how and why you might need to challenge a will is important if you ever find yourself in such a situation—and consulting with an experienced attorney should always be your first step in doing so! Knowing what grounds constitute fraud, duress, or undue influence as well as determining whether or not you have standing are both key components of successfully contesting a will. By familiarizing yourself with these topics ahead of time and having an experienced lawyer at your side every step along the way—from gathering evidence through negotiating settlements—you’ll be well prepared if ever faced with such an unfortunate situation.

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