Contesting a will can be both complicated and controversial. It often happens when someone already feels like he or she was unfairly cut out of the will, or that assets were not distributed as they should have been. In some cases, if the effort is successful, the will may not be followed. Four reasons a will may be contested include:
1. It is suspected that the will is fraudulent.2. The will was not signed in a way that corresponds with state laws.3. Undue influence was put on the person signing the will, pushing that person to agree to things he or she did not really want.4. The person did not have the capacity to sign a will and truly understand what was happening; this reasoning is sometimes used when the person has a degenerative brain disease.
These things can sometimes work together. For example, one sibling may want the family home, but the will may instruct that the home be sold to split the proceeds evenly between two siblings. The first may wait until the parent can no longer mentally grasp everything that is happening and then pressure that person, in his or her state of confusion, to sign a will that gives over the home in its entirety. The second sibling, having been cut out, may then contest the will.
If you’re interested in contesting a will for any of the reasons noted above, it’s critical that you know your legal options. Again, this can be a difficult and complex process. You have to know exactly what must be done to overrule the will and protect your own inheritance.
Source: The Balance, “What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?,” Julie Garber, accessed Jan. 19, 2017