This Is How To Contest A Will And Win

This Is How To Contest A Will And Win

July 15, 2020 Off By Glespynorson

It’s a terrible loss when someone dies. This is especially true for their loved ones. After all, whether expected or not, the loss of a friend or family member can be a heartbreaking experience.

Death can also create complicated legal issues. Especially if the deceased had a will. This is a document that dictates how an individual intends for their estate to be distributed following their death. The process isn’t always smooth or without conflict.

This article takes a look at how to contest a will and win. Keep reading to discover insight into how to proceed when you believe you’ve been unfairly treated and how to collect what is rightfully and legally yours.

What Does It Mean To Contest A Will?

First, let’s discuss what it means to contest a will in probate court.

Probate is a legal process for the distribution of assets that begins once a person has passed away. This process is handled by a probate court.

In most cases, an executor is named in the will. This is the individual responsible for taking inventory of the assets and debts that belonged to the deceased person. The executor is also responsible for notifying all individuals named in the will, as well as liquidating assets in order to pay off any debts owed by the estate. Then whatever is left can be distributed to the will’s beneficiaries.

Reasons For Contesting A Will

Next, let’s look at the various reasons that might exist for contesting a will.

Certain concerns could arise about the legitimacy of the deceased person’s will. These include mental incapacity, possible undue influence or fraud, or the belief that the will wasn’t properly executed.

If you’re convinced that the deceased person was mentally incapacitated, then it’s reasonable to believe they might not have understood the contents of the will. This is a situation where you’d need to have a doctor who personally examined your loved one provide a signed statement regarding their mental wellbeing. They should also provide medical records that support their conclusions.

When undue influence is the issue, it means that you believe that your loved one might have been manipulated or influenced to change their will prior to death.

Keep in mind that the court will require you to provide evidence to support your accusations. This is especially important if the individual in question had a fiduciary relationship with the deceased. Because in those situations, the onus will fall on that person to prove that no undue influence involved.

These types of situations are most common with a spouse, a child, or someone who has been assigned power of attorney.

Who Can Contest A Will

The next thing to consider is, who has the right to contest a will?

There are various parties who can legally contest a will in probate court. These include any beneficiaries already named in the will, beneficiaries named in a previous version of the will but excluded from the most recent version, or whose share of the estate was significantly reduced in the final version, as well as anyone not named in the will but who might be eligible to inherit property due to the state’s intestacy laws.

Each of these individuals would be required by the court to provide evidence to support their claim that the distribution of assets may have been unfair.

Do You Have Grounds For Contesting A Will?

The Steps Involved In Contesting A Will

First, you’ll need to do some research. Why? Because you’ll need to be certain that you do in fact have grounds to contest the contents of the will.


Your research should include a review of the laws for contesting a will in the state where the deceased loved one lived. You will also need to determine whether or not your reason for challenging the will is covered by the probate law in that state. It’s also important to understand how long you’ll have to object to the will following their death.

File A Petition

Once you’ve researched the issue for the appropriate state, you’ll need to file a petition in the probate court. The petition will serve as a challenge to the legitimacy of the will. You can do this yourself, or hire an estate planning attorney to handle the case.

Depending on the complexity of a case, hiring an experienced attorney can ensure that every possible legal avenue is explored when contesting the will.

Gather Evidence

Once the petition is formally filed, the probate court will set a date for you to present your case. This is an important window of time for gathering all available evidence in support of your claim against the will.

Evidence could include medical reports, proof that a caretaker manipulated your loved one, or perhaps evidence of an established pattern of financial about by a money manager or accountant.

Keep in mind that your case will need to be ironclad, so be sure to gather every bit of evidence that the contents of the will are invalid.

Hiring A Lawyer

When hiring an estate planning attorney, be sure to find one with ample experience dealing with probate cases. Get recommendations from people you trust, and then interview several before settling on the one you believe is best equipped to contest the will on your behalf.

A Complete Guide To How To Contest A Will And Win

There’s nothing fun about going to court, but sometimes you have no choice. Especially when a great deal of money is involved. Fortunately, this guide to how to contest a will and win can help you get what you rightfully deserve.

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