Medicine is complicated art and science. So many things can go wrong with the individual systems that make up our human coil that areas of specialty have developed. Even general practitioners are specialists in their own way. They’re usually focused on preventing health issues. Once someone in Ohio gets sick or hurt, though, they tend to need to go up the ladder for targeted care.
The same is true of the law, even within a particular area. Take estate law for example. Within this segment, there are attorneys who focus on the planning required to prevent issues from cropping up for clients. Other attorneys may get granular in the area of probate litigation, contesting or defending wills. Regardless of which side of the fence one is on in a contest of a will, certain procedures will be followed.
So what are the steps involved in defense of a will? First, it must be noted that state laws vary. However, many experts would agree that the ball starts rolling when the executor of an estate receives a Verified Complaint about the will after it’s admission to probate.
Presuming the complaint is filed correctly and within the proper timeframe required by law, the next step is to speak to the attorney who drafted the will. Because of the role played in that process, he or she is a key witness and is not in a position to handle the defense, at least not alone.
The next step is the filing of a formal response to the complaint. Then, lining up of relevant other witnesses and questioning of them begins. These might include treating doctors or others with information related to the execution of the will. Next comes providing an accounting of estate assets.
Most of the time, contests are based on claims that the decedent faced undue pressure when drafting the will or was mentally incompetent. Because of that, it’s important in defense to develop evidence that supports a narrative that the decedent was of sound mind and body when executing the will.
The more complicated the estate, the more likely it is that other issues will be sources of dispute and the more important it is to have confidence in the attorney at your side.