The time after losing a loved one can be a complicated one. Tennessee residents may enjoy looking through old photos and reminiscing about good times they had with their recently deceased loved one and feel a considerable amount of grief over their loss. They may also wonder how to handle the decedent’s estate and why they have not gained information about the will.
If your loved one recently passed and you did not receive information about the will, you may understandably feel concerned. After all, you were a close relative and anticipated at least a small bequest in the will. You may have had to take your own measures to obtain a copy of the document, and what you read may have left you shocked.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the contents of a will to shock loved ones. In some cases, the family may just not have discussed the matter to know what the person truly wanted, and in other cases, the document may seem wrong on a number of levels. For example, if a seemingly random person, such as a hired caregiver or neighbor, is in line to receive the majority of the estate, you may feel the need to contest the will. First, you need to determine what grounds you have.
Grounds for contesting a will
To contest a will, you need both standing and grounds. If you would be an heir to the estate had no will existed or if your loved one had named you as beneficiary in an earlier version of the will, you likely have standing to take legal action. When it comes to grounds, you may need to prove the following:
- You believe that someone forged the document or unduly influenced your vulnerable loved one into creating a new will.
- You believe that the will does not meet the proper requirements under state law.
- You believe that your loved one lacked the testamentary capacity to create a valid will at the time of its creation.
Of course, you may have other grounds for taking issue with the will filed with the probate court. However, if you suspect that someone wrongfully tried to dupe your loved one or the probate court, it is likely that one of the aforementioned reasons may best suit your circumstances. Still, if you worry that someone is taking a fraudulent document to court or that someone coerced your loved one into creating a new document, you may want to discuss the matter with an attorney to understand your options.