A will is a legal document and the most convenient way for individuals to decide who will be in charge of holding their estate when they die. Wills vary from a few simple pages to extremely long documents. The author of the will is called the testator. After the death of testator, the court follows his or her will for the distribution of property. In order to ensure that the testator will is properly executed it is crucial to follow the legal rules. Typically an executor is appointed by the testator (usually a relative) to execute the testator’s wishes after his or her death. If a person dies without a valid will, then a probate court will transfer his or her assets using legal rules.
A will contest is an objection to a will’s validity when the will does not reflect the testator’s intentions. The person challenging the will must have named in the will or have a monetary interest in the estate. A person may challenge a portion of will or the whole will. The contestant has to prove the objection in form of evidence. Then, the court will decide whether the objection has merit. There is a time limit for contesting a will; the time limit established by the inheritance act is 6 months from the grant of probate.
However, in a case of fraud there is no time limit for contesting a will.
Invalidating a will is not an easy task. If you are planning to file a will contest then get yourself legally prepared for it. Contesting a will is a time and money consuming process.
The Legal Requirements for Contesting a Will:
- Not everyone can contest a will. Only a person or entity that has standing can contest a will. You must be a devisee or beneficiary of the contested will or you would have inherited if the deceased had died without a will. If you don’t have standing, you can’t proceed with a will contest. Only a legally valid will can guarantee you the estate.
- It is also crucial to file the will contest as per legal time limits. As per law a time limit is given to contest a will.
- You must have adequate grounds for contesting a will. Approach a probate attorney if you have enough evidence to contest a will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will:
These are the grounds for contesting a will.
- Lack of capacity to make a will. It means that the person was not mentally sound when signed the will.
- The will wasn’t witnessed and signed with proper legal formalities. Will is invalid if it’s not witnessed by the required number of people or fake signed.
- Unjustified influence by another to make a will. If the person is forced to sign the will by another person who has benefits under the will. Then the will may be invalid.
- The will was acquired by fraud: This is when the testator relied on a false statement.
Consulting a probate attorney before filling a will contest is always the best option.