When a loved one passes away and has an estate plan, they’ve taken the time to dictate who should get what. Most wills are handled without any issues and everyone gets what the decedent wanted them to have.
Unfortunately, there are some cases in which the will isn’t what people thought it would be. While it’s always acceptable to be upset about the terms of a will, you can’t just contest the will because you feel its terms aren’t fair or right. You need to have valid legal grounds to file the challenge.
What can lead to a will contest?
One of the more common reasons to contest a will is when that will was created under suspected duress. It’s illegal for anyone to try to force a person to change their will or to make it according to the terms wanted by the person putting pressure on them. Caregivers and relatives alike can be very persuasive when they control every aspect of a senior’s life.
Another common reason for a will contest is the suspicion that a testator didn’t have the mental capacity to sign a will. A person has to understand what the estate plan means in order to be able to sign the will. State law sets the standard for this, so there are very specific points that must be met in order to meet the standard of lacking testamentary capacity.
These cases are time-sensitive so be sure that you get the process started right away if this is the route you choose to take. Contesting a will isn’t easy, so make sure you have experienced guidance.