Creating an estate plan isn’t something that many people look forward to. It’s something most people put off, because after all, who really wants to think about dying? But some estate plans — which include wills — may run into issues when they’re about to be administered. For instance, what happens if people believe they’ve been left out of a will? What recourse do they have?
A will can be contested, but it’s no easy feat. First, the one contesting the will must show either coercion of the testator, diminished mental capacity of the testator or fraud. If, after speaking to a lawyer, there are grounds for contesting a will, the lawyer will file to have the will invalidated and enforce a past will naming the contester as a beneficiary. If the person was not mentioned as a beneficiary in a previous will, it may be more difficult to have the will invalidated. Here are some points to ponder when thinking about contesting a will:
- Ask a lawyer about the chances of getting the will invalidated and about any alternatives
- If a decision is made to contest the will, prepare for an uphill struggle to try to get part of the estate
- Does contesting the will make sense financially? In other words, if the cost of contesting outweighs the cost of what is stand to be gained from the will, does it really make sense to contest it?
- Is the contester prepared emotionally since contesting a will could cause hardship with family members and it could take months?
There may be no one better than an estate planning and estate litigation lawyer who deals with wills on a daily basis to make recommendations about challenging a will. If the claim appears to be winnable, a lawyer is likely to recognize this right away. If grounds don’t exist for challenging a will, there may be other ways of staking a claim on the estate. An experienced lawyer can answers those questions regarding the gray areas and help steer an individual in the proper direction no matter the unique circumstances involved.