A will contest is a legal dispute that arises when someone disputes the validity of a will. There are many reasons why someone might choose to contest a will, and besides them, it is important to understand the process and what you can expect.
Why do people contest wills?
The most common reason for will contests is that the person who wrote the will, known as the testator, was not of sound mind when they wrote it. This can be due to mental illness, dementia, or even intoxication. Another common reason for will contests is that the testator was unduly influenced by someone else. This means that someone pressured the testator into writing the will in a certain way, usually in favor of the person who exerted the influence.
There are other reasons for will contests as well, such as fraud or forgery. In some cases, people have been known to forge wills or create fake ones in order to get a person’s estate.
How should you contest a will?
If you believe that a will is not valid, the first step is to file a petition in a probate court. This is where wills are typically filed after a person’s death, and it is also where will contests take place.
In your petition, you will need to state the grounds on which you are contesting the will. As we mentioned before, the most common grounds are mental incapacity or undue influence. You will also need to provide evidence to support your claims.
Once you have filed your petition, the probate court will set a hearing date. This is where both sides will present their evidence and make their arguments. The judge will then decide whether or not the will is valid.
It’s true that will contests can be costly, both in terms of money and time. They can also be emotionally draining, especially if they involve family members. But sometimes, contesting a will is the only way to get justice. If you do decide to contest a will, make sure you have a strong case and that you are prepared for what lies ahead.