3 Reasons You Can Contest A Will
Regardless of what you see on television, wills are not usually contested. Contesting a will is a difficult, uphill battle that could take months, or even years, to win. However, this does not mean you should not consider challenging the contents of a will. If you are thinking of contesting a will, here are some of the most common reasons for doing so.
The mental state of the deceased is one of the first areas that should be examined when considering contesting a will. If you can prove that at the time the will was made the deceased was mentally incapacitated in some manner, a court might throw out the will.
In order for a will to be valid, you must prove that the will maker was aware of what he or she was doing, knew his or her possessions, and capable of deciding how his or her possessions should be divided up.
Proving that the deceased was mental incapacitated when the will was made is difficult. Small things, such as forgetfulness, are usually not enough.
If you believe that the will's contents was the result of undue influence, you must prove that the deceased was manipulated into signing the will. For instance, if a caregiver used his or her influence over the deceased to convince him or her to sign over all possessions, this is considered undue influence.
How vulnerable the deceased was plays a huge role in whether or not a court will consider the will invalid. If the deceased was emotionally and physically dependent on the caregiver and signed over his or her possessions, undue influence might have occurred.
Lack of Witnesses
The number of witnesses that are needed to witness the signing of a will varies from state to state. However, having two or more witnesses is a good way to ensure that the will holds up if challenged. Witnesses can attest to many things, including the mental state of the will maker and whether or not he or she was being influenced by another to make certain decisions.
If the will you want to challenge does not have enough witnesses, contesting it is possible. Not having witnesses does not automatically translate to victory. If the judge believes the signature on the will to be that of the deceased person's, the judge could rule the will is valid.
There are many more reasons for challenging a will that could prove successful for you. The best way to determine your options is to talk to an estate planning attorney, like Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa. He or she can help build a case based on the case and state laws.