If someone you love has passed away and left a will behind that you believe has been tampered with or doesn’t represent your loved one’s wishes, then you may be in a position where you’re considering contesting the will. A will contest is serious, because it asserts that the will is inaccurate or fraudulent and should be changed in some way.
A last will and testament states all of your loved one’s final wishes. If they made changes during a state of confusion or were a victim of coercion, there is a risk that the will may not currently represent their true requests. Before you can show this is a problem, you need to be able to prove that you have a right to contest the will.
Who can contest a will?
There are several different people who can contest a will. These include:
- Beneficiaries who are stated in the will
- Beneficiaries who were named in a previous will
- Those who are not listed in the will but would be eligible for an inheritance through the state’s intestacy laws. For example, children of the deceased or their spouse may have a right to contest changes to a will
There are a few reasons why a will may not be valid. You’ll need to bring one of these to the court’s attention to fight against the will being carried out as it stands.
When should you contest a will?
You can contest a will if:
- Laws were broken when the will was written. For example, if only one witness was present, but two are required by law, then this may make the will invalid
- The testator was under undue influence, such as if someone coerced them into signing a new will out of guilt or due to manipulation
- You’ve found a more recent version of the will that you want to submit to the court
- The will wasn’t completed
If any of these things are true, or if you have found other issues with a will, then it is not a bad idea to consider contesting it. Doing so may help you prove your loved one’s true intentions.