Am I eligible to contest a family member’s will?

| Nov 26, 2019 | Probate Litigation

When a loved one passes away, you need time to grieve . If something unexpected happens, like not being named in their will, it can may disrupt the grieving process. Being in this situation can bring up a lot of emotion and confusion.

If you plan to contest the will, you must act fast. Ohio has one of the shortest deadlines for disputing a will at only three months from their date of passing.

What determines your ability to contest a will?

To contest a trust, you must first have legal standing. Legal standing means that you either need to be an heir named in the will or be a legal heir under intestate laws. Intestate laws govern the distribution of assets if a person passes away without a will.

Legal grounds for contesting a will

Beyond your eligibility for legal standing, the court will require you to have evidence that the will is invalid. Some of the common reasons for contesting a will include:

  • Improper execution: Ohio requires the presence of two witnesses during the signing of the document.
  • Testator lacking mental capacity: If your loved one did not have the mental capacity to execute their will, the will can be contested.
  • Outside influence on testator: If someone pressured the testator to sign or change the will, you might be able to contest it.

Before attempting to contest a will, you might want to evaluate if the costs are worth it for you. Contesting a will can be financially and emotionally exhausting. If your potential inheritance is enough to cover legal fees by a significant amount, then you may want to combat the will in court.

Consulting with an experienced probate attorney can help you understand the complicated laws involved in probate court.

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