Losing a loved one can leave many people feeling as if they cannot think straight. Grief, stress and other emotions can easily cloud a person’s mind, and some people may act hastily or rashly because their emotions are driving them. As a result, it is not uncommon for family disputes to take place after the death of a loved one.
Of course, some disputes may arise for logical reasons, including feeling as if something is amiss with the decedent’s will. You may have recently lost a close family member, and after reviewing the will, you may think that something questionable has occurred, especially if a near stranger is in line to inherit most of the estate or if other details seem off.
Contesting a will
If you believe that your loved one’s will does not reflect his or her true wishes, you may wonder what to do. Fortunately, the law allows individuals with legal standing, such as heirs or named beneficiaries, to contest a will in court. A will contest would involve bringing the concerns before the court to determine whether some wrongdoing has occurred. Additionally, you would need to file the contest within an acceptable amount of time, which state law often determines. Of course, to do so, you would need valid grounds.
Grounds for challenging the document
Typically, when it comes to challenging or contesting a will, four legal grounds exist for doing so. Those grounds include the following:
- You believe that the document presented to the court is fraudulent.
- You believe that your loved one did not have the mental capacity to create the will.
- You believe that an outside party unduly influenced your loved one to change the terms of the will or create a new will to benefit that party.
- You believe that the creation of the will did not follow proper legal procedures, especially at the time of signing.
Moving forward with a will contest and successfully proving that something is not legally sound with the document can be difficult. As a result, you will likely want to have help with addressing your concerns and potentially filing a claim with the probate court. Working with an experienced Tennessee attorney could allow you to have your concerns assessed by a legal professional and to learn about your legal options for handling the matter.