Allegations of validity concerning the last will and testament can arise after a person's death. If someone believes that the will was not legally executed or believes that the testator (the person who made the will) lacked the necessary capacity or was unduly influenced, it may call for contesting the will.
What Is a Will Contest?
To contest a will, a person must have standing, which means that they have a legal interest in the outcome of the case. Typically, this means that the person is an heir or beneficiary of the will. If a will is contested, the court will conduct a hearing to determine the validity of the will. The court will consider evidence related to the circumstances surrounding the execution of the will, the mental capacity of the testator at the time the will was executed, and whether the testator was unduly influenced or coerced into making the will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
Some of the common grounds for contesting a will include:
Lack of capacity: If the testator did not have the necessary mental capacity to make a will, the will may be invalid. This can occur if the testator was suffering from a mental illness or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time the will was executed.
Undue influence: If the testator was unduly influenced or coerced into making the will, the will may be invalid. This could occur if someone exerted undue pressure on the testator to make certain provisions in the will. Caregivers of the deceased may come under scrutiny if they appear to be benefiting unfairly from an estate.
Improper execution: A will must be executed in accordance with the legal requirements of the state where it was executed.
Fraud: If the testator was deceived or tricked into making the will, it may be invalid.
If the court determines that the will is invalid, the estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in the state where the testator resided. If the court determines that the will is valid, the estate will be distributed according to the provisions of the will. Allegations of will validity can arise after a person's death if someone believes that the will was not properly executed, that the testator lacked capacity, or was unduly influenced. Will contests can be complex and emotional legal proceedings, and it's important to consult with an experienced probate attorney if you are involved in a will contest.
For more info, contact a local probate attorney.