Even though wills are legally binding documents that dictate how a deceased person’s assets are distributed, there are still legal options that allow you to formally contest the will. If certain criteria are met, wills can be contested and even nullified after the testator has passed away.
Do you have legal standing?
Not everyone has the legal standing to challenge a will. Before a court will even review your challenge, you first have to prove that you are in position to be directly impacted by the contents of the will in question. Without a personal stake in the will in question, the court will deny your request to contest it.
Why are you challenging the will?
Once you have established that you have a legal standing to contest the will, the court will evaluate the reason that you’re filing a claim against it. There are limited reasons to file a contest against a will, so if your claim against the estate doesn’t fall under certain categories, your case will not be heard.
Legal reasons to challenge a will
If the will was not signed legally according to the laws of your state, you can petition the court to overturn the will. Other reasons to contest a will include:
- Insufficient mental capacity of the testator
- Undue influence on the testator
- The will obtained by fraudulent means
If any of these possibilities can be proven, you can file a legal claim against the will. The court will require you to provide proof that these issues are true, so you cannot file claims without hard evidence.
Should you make the decision to contest a will, you will need legal representation. Finding an attorney who is well-versed in estate administration and probate is vital. Your attorney may review the will itself along with your claims against it to advise you on how to proceed.