The will is a cornerstone of an estate plan. It outlines specific points, such as who should receive what assets when the creator passes away. Creators often take writing the will very seriously and likely have it set up how they want.
While many wills go through the probate process without any issues, there are times when wills might be challenged. Contrary to what some people believe, the ability to contest a will is heavily regulated.
1. Only specific individuals can challenge a will
It’s not possible for just anyone to contest a will. Instead, the person who wants to contest has to be considered an interested party. For legal purposes, this includes creditors, those who have a claim against the estate, beneficiaries and heirs.
2. Specific reasons must be present
It’s impossible to contest a will without a valid reason. These relate to the will’s validity, including claims of fraud, undue influence or lack of legal requirements. Unclear provisions and a later will are also reasons to challenge the will.
3. Contests can cause rifts in families
Contesting a will can cause a rift in the family. This is especially common when the challenge pits one family member against another. It’s always best to weigh this against the benefit of a successful challenge.
It’s not always easy to challenge a will because of the legalities of the situation. Working with someone familiar with probate litigation and will contests may help minimize the contest’s stress. It’s critical to act quickly because time is limited to get your case before the court.