There are a number of circumstances under which you might want to challenge a will. While the majority of wills go through probate with no issues at all, there are times when family members and beneficiaries may have concerns about the decedent’s will.
Since the will is designed to speak for a person who is no longer living, it’s vital that it’s upheld as it was intended. However, if a person was manipulated, threatened or otherwise forced to write or alter their will, there could be a reason to challenge it.
One thing you may want to challenge is testamentary capacity. Another is forgery or fraud. Finally, you can challenge a will if there is a second will in your possession that is more recent.
Challenging testamentary capacity
When you challenge the testamentary capacity of a parent or loved one, you are alleging that the individual lacked the ability to write or make changes to their will. You could argue that the person didn’t fully understand the way those changes will affect him or her or any beneficiaries. For instance, if your loved one had dementia, he or she may reach a point where it’s impossible for him or her to understand the implication of any changes made to the will. In that case, it would be irresponsible for an attorney to allow said changes.
Challenging on the basis of fraud
Are you convinced that someone took another individual in your parent’s place to sign changes to a will? Did someone threaten your loved one into changing the will? With evidence of wrongdoing, you may be able to challenge the will for fraud, forgery or undue influence, helping you overturn the changes. The court takes these allegations seriously, so make sure you have solid evidence to back your claims.
Challenging a will due to another will
Sometimes, a court may end up with an older version of a will, making it vital to introduce the most recent will to guarantee the intended distribution of assets. If you are unable to produce the newer version before or during probate, you will want to file a challenge so that you can make sure the new will is used.
These are three situations in which you may wish to challenge a will. Normally, courts do not allow challenges without good reason, because they want to uphold the decedent’s wishes. However, the above situations could make it necessary to file a challenge and protect your loved one’s interests.