Many people put off making a will until they absolutely have to. Some never do it at all, thinking it’s morbid or unnecessary. But what if you have a loved one who has made a will and you suspect that the document is not valid?
There can be legitimate reasons for your uneasiness. Maybe the instructions in the will for the distribution of the person’s assets don’t correspond with what he or she told you about the matter in the past. Or perhaps what is written in the will just does not seem to match up with this individual’s personality, likes or dislikes.
Whatever the reason is, you just have a nagging feeling you can’t dismiss that all is not quite right with this will. What are legal grounds are available to you if you decide to challenge it?
First, keep in mind you can’t contest a will because its provisions simply aren’t to your personal liking. So if your father, for example, left a sizable inheritance to someone else rather than you and you’re bitterly disappointed, that does not constitute grounds to contest the will.
In addition, there are other potential roadblocks. Contesting a will can be costly. You might end up on the hook paying for an attorney and an expert along with court fees. And there is yet another thing to consider. Invalidating a will is definitely not an easy process. A favorable outcome is not a sure thing.
Grounds to contest a will
- There was a failure to adhere to state law governing appropriate procedures when the will was actually signed.
- The person did not have “testamentary capacity” – that is, he or she comprehends “the legal effect of signing a will.”
- Someone exercised “undue influence” over the person when he or she created the will.
- The person was duped into signing the will.
Contesting a will can be a drawn-out, expensive endeavor that does not guarantee you success. Know what you are getting into in Ohio before you begin the process.