An estate planning lawyer can tell you that contesting a will may be unusual, but it is not unheard of. Under certain circumstances, the law allows for interested parties to contest a will. Many times, the risk of a will being contested can be minimized or eliminated with careful planning with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Call us today if you would like to discuss your concerns regarding a will, whether you are considering contesting one or would like to ensure that your will is unlikely to be contested.
Reasons for Contesting a Will
There are many reasons for why a person might wish to contest a will, though not all of them are legally recognized and so therefore do not have grounds for contesting a deceased’s will. For instance, just because you were friends with someone does not mean they were obliged to leave you money, even if they were affluent.
The deceased was not of sound mind and body when they wrote their will. The court understands that a person can be unduly influenced by others who wish to set themselves up to inherit assets, to the exclusion of others who otherwise would stand to inherit those assets. An estate planning lawyer can work with you to determine if there is sufficient evidence available to prove the deceased was not capable of understanding the consequences of what they wrote in their will.
The will is a forgery. An estate planning lawyer will have to present evidence that the will is forged and is therefore invalid. This usually requires the inclusion of testimony and documentation from experts such as handwriting analysts, archival document specialists, etc.
The will is not the latest will that the deceased left behind. If you and your estate planning lawyer can present a valid will that is more recent, you may be able to invalidate the previous will. If you have valid reasons for why you believe there is a more recent will though you have not yet located it, the currently recognized will can be held for a period of time as designated by a judge. However, this is only for a limited amount of time and will only delay the carrying out of the current will unless you can find a more recent version.
Protecting Your Will
With a clearly written will, possibly in conjunction with the use of other estate planning tools, we can help make sure that your heirs and others who are not included in the will, are not likely to have legal grounds for contesting your will. In the event that you need an attorney, like a wills and trusts lawyer Scottsdale, AZ relies on, do not hesitate to contact one to make sure you are in the best position to tackle your case.
Thank you to Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for providing their insight and authoring this piece on estate planning.