A probate attorney understands that even in the happiest of families, disputes arise. Sometimes relatives are able to work through and move past those disputes, but other times, the issue can cause a fissure within the family. This often happens when a loved one dies and relatives begin fighting over the estate. We have been assisting clients in estate plan and probate disputes for more than and know how emotional these situations can be.
Reasons to Contest a Will
If you suspect a loved one’s will is not valid, whether because of manipulation, coercions, or the will has been altered in some way, you have every right to challenge that will in the probate process. Some of the more common grounds that a probate attorney has handled include:
- The will was executed improperly: This can often happen when there was no attorney involved in drafting the will. All state laws must have been followed in executing the will or it is invalid.
- The decedent was not mentally competent when they signed the will: This can happen if the decedent was suffering from dementia or some other mental condition.
- There was fraud perpetrated on the decedent: If the decedent was tricked into signing the will, then it is not valid. For example, if he or she thought they were signing some other type of paperwork and had no idea it was a will, then the will is invalid.
- Another individual or individuals put undue pressure or influence on the decedent: If a party was threatening or blackmailing the decedent to change their will, it would invalidate it. This can be difficult to prove, but not impossible.
In order to prove that the will that has been filed with the probate court is invalid, you should consider consulting with a probate attorney to represent your best interest. It can be difficult proving that a will is invalid according to the rules of the probate court without an attorney. This can be especially true if the will that has been filed is the only will that was ever executed. A probate attorney has extensive experience in contesting wills and will be able to advise you on what is the best direction to proceed in.
In order to contest a will, it is critical to notify the probate court in writing as soon as possible. There is only a limited amount of time to contest a will and once that time has expired, the opportunity to contest expires, as well.
Your probate attorney will then prepare an argument to prove that the will you are contesting is invalid. The more evidence that can be provided, the stronger your case will be. This can include copies of any other wills, as well as bank statements, credit card statements, and any other evidence which can prove your claim.
Let a Probate Attorney Help You
If you think a loved one’s will is invalid, contact an expert and professional wills lawyer O’Fallon MO has to offer to help your case.
Thank you to the Legacy Law Center for providing their expertise and insight on contesting a will.