Personalized Attention For Your Family’s Probate & Estate Needs

4 things to know about contesting a will

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | probate litigation |

Contesting a will can be a complex and sensitive legal process. It involves challenging the validity of a will, usually because it doesn’t accurately reflect the deceased’s true intentions. Specific legal requirements govern this process and can result in significant implications for estate distribution.

Understanding the nuances of contesting a will is essential for anyone considering this action. It’s a process that requires careful consideration of legal standing, valid reasons, potential costs and the impact on family relationships.

Only specific individuals can contest a will

Not everyone has the legal right to contest a will. Generally, the individuals who can challenge a will are those named as beneficiaries in the will or those who would have been entitled to an inheritance under intestacy laws if there was no will. This group typically includes close family members who can demonstrate a direct financial interest in the outcome of the estate.

Specific reasons must be articulated

To successfully contest a will, specific legal grounds must be present. Common reasons include lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud or issues with how the will was executed.

This process takes time and can be costly

Contesting a will is often a time-consuming and expensive process. It involves legal proceedings that can take months or even years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the case.

A dispute may cause rifts in a family

Contesting a will can lead to significant emotional strife and conflict within a family. It can exacerbate existing tensions and create new ones, which may potentially lead to long-term rifts. It’s essential to consider the potential impact on family relationships and whether a contest is worth this risk.

In some cases, disputes over a will can be resolved through mediation instead of court. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. If you’re thinking about contesting a will in either a mediated or litigated context, seeking legal guidance can help you to make an informed decision about your rights and options.