People often update their will throughout their life. When a family member dies, you would expect to distribute their estate according to the most recent version of their will. However, this may be inappropriate.
There are times that a loved one’s most recent will really doesn’t reflect their true intentions.
Why might you want to contest the latest version of a will?
You may suspect that the latest will does not reflect the person’s true wishes. If so, you might wish to challenge it on one of these grounds:
- Undue influence: For a will to be valid, the person must have made and signed it of their own free will. It should represent their true wishes for the distribution of their estate. If they changed it to benefit someone a lot of time with them before their death, you might suspect foul play. You might feel that person used their proximity to convince your loved one to leave things to them.
- Lack of testamentary capacity: Many older people suffer a decline in mental health during their last few years. The law requires anyone creating a will be of sound cognitive ability. If your mother could not recognize her grandchildren, she is unlikely to have known what she was doing when she altered her will.
- Fraud, duress or mistakes: If the signature does not match the person’s usual signature, it may be fraudulent. If your father changed their will to benefit a shady business contact, you might feel they did so under duress. If a will was not signed or witnessed correctly, the mistakes could deem it invalid.
Ohio law only gives you three months to contest a will. If you doubt a will’s validity, you need to understand the legal options available sooner rather than later.