A person’s Last Will and Testimony declares how he or she desires property distributed upon death. This legal document has great power, and courts follow the directions when possible. A will contest can disrupt probate proceedings and thwart them completely.
Preventing a Will Contest
Testators, individuals producing the will, can take steps to avoid a will contest. This consists of having an attorney draft the will to make sure that all legal formalities are followed. A lawyer can also have witnesses total self-proving affidavits to avoid the requirement to have witnesses affirm in court about the testator’s appearance of being of sound mind. Although these steps can help lower the probability that a will object to will succeed, even wills that are perfectly drafted can still be objected to. The individual bringing forth the will contest has the problem of proof of developing that the will is not a legitimate will.
State law determines which parties can object to a will. Usually the people called in the will, the beneficiaries, and the people who would stand to inherent absent a will, the successors, can object to a will.
Grounds to Contest a Will
There are a number of grounds that an individual can utilize to contest a will. Some common reasons to contest a will include:
Formalities Were Not Followed
In order for a will to be declared legitimate, the testator should have followed the rules that are specified by state law. This typically includes the testator making a statement that the will was what was being signed, 2 witnesses being present and seeing the signing of the will and valid signatures by the testator and the witnesses being consisted of on the will. If the formalities were not followed, the will may not be accepted by the court as a valid will.
Absence of Capacity
Additionally, the testator need to be of sound mind when she or he creates the will. The court is not worried with whether the testator later developed a condition that incapacitated him or her. The concern is whether the testator was of sound mind when he or she signed the will. If the testator did not have the capability to produce a will, the will is not valid.
Another ground to contest a will is if the testator was unduly affected. Unnecessary influence occurs when a person puts in an unreasonable quantity of impact over the testator by threatening him or her, separating him or her from the remainder of the family or denying him or her of required resources in an attempt to get the testator to sign a will that benefits the individual who is unduly affecting the testator.
Fraud occurs when somebody gets the testator to sign a document that he or she does not know is a will and the testator had no affordable opportunity to validate this details.
No Contest Arrangements
Some wills include a “no contest” arrangement that mentions that if a person brings forth an action to object to the will, he or she will lose whatever inheritance that she or he was entitled to. Some states do not honor such arrangements if the individual bringing the contest has valid premises to do so.
Will Object To Procedures
After a person comes up with a claim against the will, the court will rule whether the procedural premises have actually been satisfied. The will contest becomes part of a prosecuted element of the probate process. The court should settle this concern before other aspects of the probate procedure can be completed because the decision on whether the will sent to the probate court is legitimate will impact these other aspects.
Individuals may pick to maintain the services of a lawyer if they are concerned about a will object to. Estate planning lawyers can help clients in preparing wills and consisting of arrangements that will make a will object to more difficult to prevail on. Probate attorneys can be maintained by relative or the estate to combat or safeguard a will contest.