When a loved one dies, it can be a challenging and emotional time for the family and anyone who is close to the decedent. However, matters can become even more complex if there are disputes over the contents of the deceased’s will among beneficiaries or other individuals.
Contesting a will is a legal process in which someone challenges the validity of the document. There are several reasons why someone might decide to take this serious step during this time.
Lack of capacity
One common reason for contesting a will is the belief that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to make important decisions when they created the will. If another person can prove that the testator, the person who created the will, was not of sound mind at the time they made the will, the court may deem it invalid.
Contesting a will can also occur when there are suspicions of undue influence on the testator. If someone close to the deceased exerts undue pressure or control over them, it can cast doubt on the authenticity of the will. Emotional manipulation or threats may have negatively influenced the testator and led them to change their original plans.
Fraud or forgery
Sometimes, a person may contest a will if there are suspicions of fraud or forgery. If someone believes an individual altered or falsified the will in any way, they may challenge its validity.
To be legally valid, a will must meet specific requirements, including proper signing and witnessing. If these requirements are not met, a person may contest the will on the grounds of improper execution.
Ambiguity or unclear language
If the language used in the will is unclear or ambiguous, it can lead to disputes. Contestants may argue that the testator’s true intentions are not clear, and therefore, the will should not be upheld.
Someone can contest a will if there is evidence that the testator revoked it. This might occur if the deceased created a new will or destroyed the old one but did not properly communicate these changes.
According to Caring.com, 64% of American adults say that a will is an important document to have. Taking the necessary steps to contest a will starts with understanding the power and inner workings of this document, as well as the reasons why someone may contest it.