It’s almost an unspoken rule of respect to honor the deceased’s will, but certain challenges may cause a person with standing to contest a will. Will contesting has become a more common issue in recent years due to various different factors and is only expected to rise over the next few years.
Here are some common reasons wills are contested in the US.
1. Incomplete or Invalid
In the US, each state has its own strict probate laws regarding the writing of wills. There are certain formalities such as the right amount of witnesses present, the inclusion of substantive clauses, the appointment of a person who will administer the estate, etc. Wills can be contested if the contester can prove that these formalities were violated.
2. Lack of Testamentary Capacity
Wills are often challenged in court based on claims that the maker lacked testamentary capacity. Testamentary capacity means that the person who wrote the will should have been of legal age and of sane mind. If the will maker had any kind of mental incapacities or was unable to fully understand what he/she was writing and its consequences, then the will can be contested under law.
Fraudulent wills are those that are signed with a false understanding. If the person or persons who signed the will were told false details about it and made to sign with a deceptive approach, then the will is considered fraudulent.
Wills can also be signed by forgery which also makes them eligible for contesting.
4. Unduly Influenced
The will maker should not have been under any kind of duress or threat while making the will. Nor should the signees have been under any kind of influence from another person. Sometimes, people are forced to sign wills under threats of violence, intimidation or intense manipulation. Such wills are eligible to be contested.
5. Financial Reasons
This is not a formal legal ground for will contesting but is perhaps among the most common personal causes for it. A person may try to contest a will because he feels like he has been treated unfairly based on the terms of the will. He may feel like the will does not appropriately compensate for the financial strains he may be facing and choose to contest it in an attempt to gain more financial compensation.
If you’re looking for a law firm to help you figure out how to contest a will, contact us at Kalicki Collier.
We are a team of expert and highly experienced probate lawyer Reno, Nevada. We can help you with any legal matters such as: probate, estate planning, bankruptcy, family law, personal injury and more. Request a consultation here.