Should I contest a will?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Wills are a key part of estate planning. A will is a great way for someone to clarify what they would like done with their property after they die.

Having a will can prevent disputes and help avoid the probate process, which can be long, costly and complicated.

But what happens if your family member dies with a will and there’s something in the will that doesn’t seem right to you? You may believe there is no way the will reflects your family member’s wishes.

Not liking a will is not a reason to contest it

You can contest a will, but before doing so, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Talking with a professional to learn your chance of success is recommended.

As difficult as it might be to accept, you cannot contest a will simply because you do not like what it says. Sometimes, people contest wills because they are upset that they didn’t receive something they were expecting.

When you can contest a will

This is not a valid reason to contest a will. Rather, you can contest a will if you believe it is legally invalid, fraudulent or something was wrong with the testator, who is the person who made the will.

There are several legal requirements for a valid will. For example, a will must be signed by the testator and notarized in front of witnesses. If you have evidence that the legal requirements were not intended, you can contest a will.

Proving fraud is extremely difficult

A will that is fraudulent means that the testator was somehow fooled into creating a phony will. Proving a will is fraudulent is challenging, partially because you will likely have to overcome an assumption that you are claiming it is fraudulent simply because you don’t like it.

You may sincerely believe that your family member was not in their right mind when they made the will. A testator who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or legally incompetent when they made the will can make a will invalid.

If you do decide to contest the will, the process can be complex and there are various steps and requirements. However, if the will truly was invalid, proving that can help you honor your loved one’s wishes.