A will is an efficient and legal way to distribute the testator’s assets upon their passing. However, wills can be created improperly for a variety of reasons. Proving that a will is invalid can be difficult and costly, especially if the will has a “no contest” clause. It is vital to seek out legal representation before proceeding. Our team of lawyers has extensive experience with estate law, and we can assist you with contesting the testator’s will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
A will can be challenged when it is signed in a way that does not meet the state’s laws; each state has its own laws, and overlooking any of them is grounds for a legal challenge. If a challenger can prove that the testator did not have sufficient mental capacity to understand and distribute their assets, the will can be legally challenged. Undue influence – including acts such as meeting with the testator’s attorney or paying for the will – may be hard to prove in court, but it is another means to contest a will. Challengers can also contest a will by proving that it was fraudulently signed as the result of a third party tricking the testator.
Who Can Legally Challenge a Will?
Heirs-at-Law – the testator’s spouse, children, and collateral heirs (such as parents) — have legal standing to challenge a will if they’ve been disinherited. Anyone who was a beneficiary in a previous version of a legal will can also contest the last version of the will. Although minors cannot challenge a will, a minor’s parent or guardian can challenge a will on the minor’s behalf. Generally speaking, any individual that does not fall into any of the categories above does not have any legal standing to contest a will. Finally, a will can have a “no contest” clause that could completely remove an inheritor from the will if the inheritor challenges a will and loses.
Call our office for a consultation so we can determine the strength of your case and a plan for how to proceed with your challenge. Our firm will work to ensure that an invalid or fraudulent will does not deny you from your rightful share of the testator’s estate.