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Not just anyone can challenge a will

Challenging a will is necessary when you have a valid reason to believe that the will isn't correct. A previous blog post discussed some of the reasons why a person might challenge a will. On top of having a valid reason, you must have a status that allows you to challenge.

There are a few different points that you must consider when you are determining if you can challenge a will.

You are named in the will

If you are named in the will, you can challenge it. This category doesn't include only family members of the person who passed away. It also includes entities, such as charities, that stand to receive part of the inheritance. Friends can also contest a will if they are named.

Interestingly, it is possible for a pet to contest a will if the pet is named in it. Adding a pet to an estate plan isn't all that common, but it is a way that the pet owner can ensure one's beloved companion is taken care of.

You were named in a previous will

People update their wills as life's circumstances change. Sometimes, this means that a person will be removed from the will. You have an option to challenge the will if you were taken out or if what you will receive has changed. The key point is that the previous will must have been valid.

You would qualify as an heir

Even if you weren't included in a prior will and aren't named in the current one, you can still challenge the will if you would have been an heir if the person died without an estate plan. You have to review state laws about the chain of heirs when a person dies intestate.

Presence of an exclusion

In some cases, a person will disinherit someone out of one's estate plan. He or she might write a person out of the will. When this happens, the validity of the will is what determines the outcome. There is a chance that the will might be found invalid if there was an element of undue influence or lack of capacity.

You should think carefully before you challenge a will. Often, your family dynamic will change if you fight the will. You need to determine if what you feel you are entitled to is worth the battle with your family.

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