While the vast majority of wills are uncontested, there are times when challenging the distribution of an estate makes sense. Are you facing one of these instances? If any of these cases, apply, it may be time to step up and say something.
1. The person who wrote the will was not competent to do so.
In some cases, you may have to challenge the will writer's capacity to create the will in the first place. In court, you will have to prove that the individual did not understand the consequences of writing the document in terms of property size, property value, will beneficiaries, and how property will be distributed.
2. The will is not valid.
In order for a will to be valid, it is important that the document be signed in a way that suits state law. Each state has its standards for what constitutes a written will. If not written the right way, you may be able to have the document thrown out in court. You may also be able to prove that one version of the will is more valid than another. It is also possible that the will did not have an appropriate witness to its signing. Without a witness, there is little evidence to suggest that your loved one even actually signed the document.
3. Somebody had undue influence on the will.
While it is not common, some will writers face undue influence by which somebody manipulates a vulnerable party in an effort to receive property in the will. In order to prove that this was the case, you must prove that the person who wrote the will did not have free will in doing so. Consider the fact that in some cases, the person who wrote the will may rely solely on another person for care. If somebody is manipulating your loved one, they may fear that they will not receive health or personal care if they don't leave this person something in the will.
4. Fraud was involved in signing the will.
Is it possible that somebody slipped the will by the signer without their knowledge? On occasion, people have written documents with their own desires, slipping it into a pile of papers for somebody to sign. If your loved one lacks the ability to read or see properly, it could be possible that he or she signed a will they had no idea even existed.
Do you still have questions about contesting an estate? Finding a contested estates probate lawyer may be your next step.