What is a Will Contest?
The word “contest” implies a struggle, battle, or competition between two or more opposing individuals and/or forces. This makes it an appropriate word to describe what happens when the validity of a will is challenged in court. Will contests are formal legal challenges make to the admissibility of a decedent’s will to probate. A successful will contest will prevent the contested portion of the will (or the whole will) from being considered by the probate court and the decedent’s affairs and assets that had been discussed in the contested will be handled as if the decedent had not written a will at all.
Why Would a Person Challenge a Person’s Will?
One of the hallmarks of a good estate plan is that there are no “bad” surprises when the decedent dies and the will is read. For one reason or another, however, some wills do not leave any assets or inheritance to individuals or family members who believe they should be entitled to a part of the decedent’s estate. Other wills appear to directly contradict promises the decedent may have made to a person while the decedent was still alive. A will contest, therefore, is typically filed whenever an heir, beneficiary, or intended beneficiary believes the will that is admitted to probate does not accurately represent the decedent’s final wishes.
Do I Need Legal Representation During a Will Contest?
A will’s validity depends on the evidence available to the court that demonstrates (1) the will was executed in accordance with the statutory requirements; and (2) the person who created the will had the requisite mental capacity. An attorney can provide you with significant assistance in locating and presenting evidence you need to support your position (whether you are attempting to have a will invalidated or whether you support the will’s admission to probate).
Let the experienced team at Giro Attorneys at Law, LLC help you with your will contest questions and representation. Call us at (201) 690-1642.