Many people shy away from challenging a will because they’re aware of the challenges associated with doing so. However, before you make this decision, you should think long and hard about what you’re giving up.
If you realize that you have solid ground to stand on, don’t hesitate to learn more about challenging a will and protecting your legal rights.
While there are many reasons why you can challenge a will, here are some of the most common:
- Testamentary capacity: All adults are presumed to have testamentary capacity, but this isn’t always the case. You can challenge a will if you feel that a person created a will when they were not in the right frame of mind, such as the result of substance abuse, mental illness, dementia or senility.
- Fraud or forgery: Both of these are very serious, as it means someone has taken illegal measures to ensure that they benefit from another’s death. An example of forgery is creating a new will and signing the person’s name to it.
- More than one will: Although it’s good practice to only have one will, some people make one legal document after the next, never disposing of the old ones. This can result in trouble upon their death. The most recent will is the one that should be submitted for probate. If an older will is in play, you have grounds for challenging it.
- The provisions of the will: With DIY estate planning on the rise, more wills than ever have errors. There are things a will can and cannot include. For example, the will should appoint a personal representative. There must also be witnesses to its signing.
The last thing you want to do when a loved one passes away is focus all your attention on their estate plan. However, if you find that you have reason to challenge the will, it’s best to take action as soon as possible. If you wait, you may find that you’ve missed your opportunity.
A will contest will challenge you on many fronts, but the right approach will allow you to take steps to protect your legal rights and turn up any wrongdoing.