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A simple disagreement is not a reason to contest a will

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2020 | probate litigation |

When a Nashville resident creates an estate plan, it is possible that not everyone will be happy with the decisions made. If an individual does disagree with the contents of a family member’s will, does that mean they can have a judge change it? The simple answer is that a person can only legally contest a will for certain reasons, and simply feeling slighted may not be enough.

So, why can a Nashville resident contest the will of a loved one who recently passed away? One reason why would be if there is evidence that the person creating the will executed it without the legal capacity to do so. When a person is already suffering from a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the law would probably consider it too late to establish legally the mental capacity required to execute a will. The law requires the person creating this estate-planning document to understand what is happening and the decisions reflected in the document.

Going along with the issue of mental capacity is the possibility that the signer was somehow tricked into it. Perhaps a family member, caregiver or friend put pressure and undue influence on a loved one to make certain provisions in his or her will that would benefit that person. If evidence exists that the person benefitting from the will isolated that person, paid for the will or spoke directly to an attorney about the other person’s will, it may be possible to prove undue influence.

Finally, in order for a will to be valid, it must be executed in accordance with the law. For example, if the will was not witnessed, it may not not comply with the law (although under certain conditions, holographic wills are valid in Tennessee). Anyone who believes that any of these issues exist may want to contest a will. However, this is not an easy process, and it would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney before moving forward.