While most wills are straightforward and can be executed without any questions or issues, there are some circumstances where a will may be contested. In those situations, whoever is contesting the will takes the claim to court, explaining why they believe the will to be invalid or why they feel that it should not be executed as it is written. Here are a few common reasons why you might feel it necessary to contest your deceased loved one's will.
The Interests Expressed Differ From Their Verbalized Wishes
If the desires expressed in the will differ widely from what he or she had repeatedly told you and other family members, it may be worthwhile to have the will and the evidence evaluated in court. In such a case, the individual who helped with the establishment of the will is going to have to show that these were, in fact, the wishes of your loved one. If the changes were made on his or her deathbed, there may then be a question of sound mind. It will be up to the judge to determine its validity.
The Will May Have Been Written With Undue Influence
If someone had a close and influential role with your deceased loved one leading up to their passing, and the will that was filed with the court does not seem to match what you would have expected, but instead seems to reflect the wishes of the influential party, you may be able to have the will invalidated as a result of undue influence. Consider who is benefiting most from the will, particularly if it is that individual or someone close to them. If you have reason to believe that there was undue influence, talk with a probate attorney about having it evaluated in court.
The Will Was Never Signed
If your loved one never actually signed the will that's being used to distribute their estate, you have cause to call it into question. In a case like that, the signature would be considered legal proof that the will is, in fact, his or her wishes. However, without a signature, you can call upon the courts to determine if that will should actually be enforced or if it should default to a prior, signed version.
There's A Newer Will That Wasn't Filed
Just because a will is filed with the courts doesn't mean that it is set in stone. You can change your will at any time, and if the deceased did so and never filed the new one with the court, you can have the one that's on file contested and replaced with the new one. You just have to show proof that he or she did, in fact, want this new will to be the one that was considered.
For more information, contact a lawyer like G Steven McKonly, PC.Share