When you have had a loved one pass away, you may be wondering if you were listed in their will. If you feel that their will was created with some suspicious circumstances, then you may want to challenge it. There are a few ways in which you can challenge a will, but it is highly fact dependent. If you have an issue with any estate document, it is recommended that you meet with an experienced attorney to get legal advice. This blog should not be interpreted as legal advice, but merely information related to wills in general. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your particular situation, contact our office.
Was the Will Valid?
Before challenging a will, you will want to determine whether the will was valid. Some very specific will requirements vary from state to state. The will must be signed by the testator (the person creating the will) and two witnesses. The testator must have the capacity to make legal decisions at the time the will is signed. The general test for capacity includes the following questions:
- Did the testator understand the value of their assets?
- Did the testator understand who should inherit the assets?
- Did the testator understand the legal consequences of signing the will?
If there is a question regarding any of these issues, the testator may be found not to have had the capacity to sign the will, making it invalid.
Was Undue Influence Present?
When people age, they may become more gullible and susceptible to those trying to influence them. If the will was changed suddenly so that someone (like an unrelated caretaker) benefits unexpectedly, you might be able to make a challenge that there was undue influence at play.