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Wills and will contests: Who can challenge a will?

Not everyone can contest a will. The individuals who can contest a will must be people who stand to benefit in the event that (1) the will is invalidated and the estate will be distributed according to Tennessee intestacy laws, (2) in the event that the will is invalidated and this results in honoring a previous will or (3) in the event that a subsequent will is honored.

Under Tennessee probate law, those who stand to benefit if the will is invalidated are known as "interested parties." Of course, these interested parties must have a valid reason for contesting the will, but if a viable cause of action for invalidating the will exists, the following parties might have the right to challenge the current will:

People who have standing: Individuals with "standing" are those who have been named in the will or someone who would either inherit assets or benefit if the will is invalidated or has lost assets or benefit as a result of the will.

People who are beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are anyone who has been named to receive a benefit or inheritance within the will, a prior will or subsequent will.

People who are heirs: People who are heirs include anyone who will inherit naturally in the event that no will is in place. These are usually spouses, parents, children, siblings and grandparents.

People who are mentioned in a "no contest" clause: No contest clauses place conditions on individuals who will be disinherited if they challenge the last will. These clauses are not always legally viable, but often they will attempt to disinherit someone who tries to challenge the terms and conditions of the will.

If you want to know if you have the legal right and a viable cause of action by which to challenge a will, learn more about will contests by visiting our website.

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