If you are considering challenging the validity of a Last Will and Testament of a loved one, you should understand it is serious business. Even if your objection to the Will is a simple claim that a simple mistake was made, it can bring the validity of the entire Will into question. There are numerous circumstances where a Will can be contested, including:
- Lack of mental capacity. If the court finds that the testator lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature or amount of his or her estate, or how the Will disposes of the estate, the Will can be held invalid.
- Failure to comply with the law. If a Will fails to meet the requirements set forth by the applicable law (such as in writing, witnessed, notarized, etc), it may be successfully challenged.
- Mistake or fraud. If the testator signed the Will based upon a misunderstanding or actual fraud, it can be held invalid.
- Undue influence. If the testator made the Will under the undue influence or duress of another party, it can be held invalid. A Will must be made freely and without coercion of anyone else.
- Revocation. If a more current Will exists, or if the testator otherwise revokes the Will that has been submitted for probate, the objection to it may be upheld.
Challenging the validity of a Will usually involves serious, expensive and protracted litigation and division within families. It should not be undertaken lightly or with the hope that a quick settlement will result. Only an experienced estate planning attorney can help you evaluate the case and the wisdom of challenging the Will. Exploring all of the facts and circumstances before filing an action is necessary to determine whether it is prudent. In cases that merit the challenge, you may need both an estate planning attorney and a good trial attorney.
To learn more about contesting a Will or defending an objection to one, contact our office today. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.