When you lose a loved one, you will find yourself facing a series of legal steps to enforce their will. If for any reason you question the validity of the will, you may want to contest it. Before you do, there are a few things that you should know. Here's a look at the fundamentals of contesting a will.
You May Not Be Eligible To Contest It
The law only allows for certain people to contest a will. In order to be eligible, you have to have a direct interest in the financial outcome of the proceeding, and that financial interest must be both proven and shown to be negatively affected if the will is accepted as it is written.
Some of the people who would be eligible to contest a will include children or spouses, particularly if they are being excluded from the will as it's written and they have reason to believe that the deceased didn't intend to do that.
You Have To Have Grounds To Contest It
You can't contest a will just because you think it's unfair. In fact, the courts will only allow you to contest a will under certain circumstances. For example, if you can prove that the deceased was coerced into changing their will or was mentally or intellectually incapacitated at the time that the will was signed, you could have grounds to contest it.
In order to prove that the deceased was coerced or otherwise influenced, you'll have to show that the individual lacked their own free will at the time that the will was written. Further, the effects must be directly related to re-writing the will in a way that benefits the influencing party. It can be done by someone who directly benefits from the change, or even someone who indirectly benefits, such as the spouse of the deceased's beneficiary.
Another opportunity for contesting a will occurs when you can prove that the deceased had no knowledge of the contents of that will, or that it was forged. You'll have to have evidence to that fact in order to contest it, but the courts will consider it in cases such as this, putting the estate into probate instead of simply honoring the will.
Understanding the fundamentals of contesting a will is important, because you can't just contest it on a whim. You should consult a probate attorney if you have any reason to believe that your loved one's will is invalid or was forced in any way. Visit a site like www.davis2.com for more help.
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