If you are left dissatisfied by what is revealed in a family member’s will, you may be considering whether to file a challenge. While reports suggest that will contests are on the increase, it is never something you can take lightly.

What are the negatives to a will contest?

There are a lot of potential negatives to this kind of action, including:

  • It will delay probate: This could delay you and other family members from receiving assets, which could cause people problems or hardship.
  • It could reduce the estate: Fees to defend the will are usually paid from the deceased’s estate, leaving less to go around.
  • It will cost you money: Challenging a will can take time and incur considerable legal fees.
  • You might lose: Many will contests fail. Are the potential gains worth this risk?
  • It could destroy your family: If your dispute is with a close family member, your relationship may never recover.
  • You may be going against the deceased’s wishes: However strange someone’s decisions may seem to you, sometimes they have a reason for their actions. How will you feel about going against their plans?

In many cases, contesting a will is the right thing to do. Forgeries and fraud can happen. People do use their influence to persuade someone to change a will in their favor. People can make decisions to the detriment of their loved ones that they would not do if they retained their full mental capacities. An attorney can help you decide if you have grounds to mount a contest, but only you can decide whether to pursue it — although your attorney may also have ideas about ways your issue can be resolved without a long, formal battle.