How To Contest A Will

Aug 6, 2010

While contesting a Will isn’t overly complicated, there are some rules you have to follow.

First and foremost, you must have legal standing to challenge the contents of the Will. What this means is that you might have the right to make the challenge and that “right” is very limited.

In general, the only people entitled to challenge a Will are:

a) those who are a natural heir (i.e., spouse, children, etc.); or

b) those who have been named in a previous version of the Will and are now excluded.

Assuming you fall into one of these two groups, you then must have a valid reason for making the challenge. And no, simply saying that you expected more is not sufficient.

Instead, you’ll need to show that the deceased was not of sound mind when the Will was executed or that they were unduly influenced by a third party.

Another valid reason for challenging the will is that it was not executed correctly. This could be because it isn’t signed by the deceased or wasn’t witnessed properly. If the Will was signed but the signature is questionable, you could challenge the document on the basis of fraud.

And, as mentioned earlier, you can also challenge if you were named in a previous version but have now been disinherited. You would of course, need to show that the omission was unintentional in order for your challenge to stand and the Will to be invalidated.

To determine if you have the right to challenge a Will, contact your estate planning attorney.

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