Many people adopt wills so their assets are properly distributed after their death. Despite the best estate planning efforts, one or more parties might contest a will, leading to complex and lengthy probate litigation.
Because of the importance of a will, it is absolutely crucial that people partner with an experienced estate planning attorney to create and adopt a will and that family members immediately contact a lawyer if they believe the will of a loved one should be considered invalid.
Four Reasons You Might Contest A Will
While there are a number of reasons family members might contest a will, some of the most common reasons can include:
- Lack of Capacity – In order for a person to adopt a will, they have to be of sound mind. While there are numerous conditions and illnesses that can compromise an individual’s mental capacity, the law sets forth specific standards for capacity. An individual who wants to adopt a will must understand the value of their estate and assets, understand they are making a will for the distribution of their estate after death, and understand the consequences of including and excluding people from the will.
- Undue Influence – Undue influence occurs when an individual is coerced or under duress when making and adopting a will. Allegations of undue influence are very common and often highly contentious. In order to invalidate a will on the basis of undue influence or duress, beneficiaries must prove the author of the will did not adopt the will under their own free will
- Multiple Wills – Many individuals make changes to their wills over the years and some will even completely redistribute their assets. While updating your will regularly is a good idea, older wills must be properly voided or updated. If not, beneficiaries might fight over which will is actually valid. Newer wills usually trump older wills, but beneficiaries will still need the help of an experienced probate lawyer to resolve this type of will contest.
- Fraud and Forgery – Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of an already tragic situation by fraudulently producing a will. Fraud can occur if an individual manipulates a vulnerable person into leaving them property or assets in a will. Forgeries on the other hand often occur after an individual has passed by creating a fake will with false signatures.
Talk To An Experienced Will Contest Lawyer
The best way to prevent contested wills is by working with an experienced estate planning attorney to create and adopt your will. However, if a loved one has already passed and his or her will is being contested or you suspect there is good reason to contest the will, don’t wait to call Hensley Krueger LLP. We can protect your best interests and handle your case efficiently and discreetly.