When Can You Challenge A Will?

Estate planning is a procedure that manages the distribution of your estate in the event of death or incapacitation. It ensures that the assets are distributed according to the individual’s desires. A will is an essential component of the plan and states the deceased’s wishes. 

However, if you believe that the will of a loved one is not legally valid and thus not enforceable, you have the right to contest it within the statute of limitations set by your state. The estate attorney Pamela L. Hancock can help you through the legal procedure of effectively challenging a will. 

Who can challenge a will?

Not everyone can challenge. Each state has its criteria to determine whether the individual is eligible to dispute the terms of the will. 

  • A beneficiary in the will. 
  • They are not mentioned in the will but would receive the part of the estate if the will is deemed invalid. 

What are the common grounds for contesting a will?

  • Lack of legal formalities during creation. 

To be legally recognized, a particular procedure must be followed specified by the state laws. If formalities such as the presence of two witnesses during the signing of the will and valid signatures were not observed when the testator created the will, it might be invalid. 

  • Lack of testamentary capacity. 

For the will to be legal, the testator or creator of the will has to be of sound mind and understand the legal consequences of their decisions. If they were not in their right senses while creating the terms or signing the will, it is not enforceable because they were unaware of their actions and effects. 

  • Lack of intent. 

The testator must intend to create and sign the terms of the will. It should have been by their own will and not because of the undue influence of another party for their advantage, by mistake, fraudulent conduct, or threats. If the lack of intent is proved, the state’s intestate laws apply. 

  • Forgery. 

There is a possibility that another party forged or modified the deceased person’s will for their benefit. The validity of such a will can be contested in the probate court with the aid of your attorney. 

The presence of an experienced lawyer can significantly help your case. They understand your frustration and concern about the state of your deceased loved one’s estate and your future and put in every effort to ensure that the will is not executed if it is invalid.