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When can a will be contested?

| Nov 13, 2020 | Estate Planning |

The possible reasons for challenging a will are largely related to the requirements for a will to be valid. The connection illustrates both the importance of a valid will and knowing the grounds for challenging a will. Whether a family member wishes to contest a will, or finds themselves in the position of defending the validity of a will, it is important information to have.

Testamentary capacity

For a will to be valid, the estate planner must have testamentary capacity which requires that the estate planner knows the extent and value of their property; that the estate planner understands who the beneficiaries of the will are; and that the estate planner understands the impact of their will and what the disposition of their property to their beneficiaries means. If any of these requirements is not met, it may be possible to challenge

Fraud, forgery or undue witnesses

In addition, a will may not be considered valid if it is not entered into knowingly and voluntarily. If there is any fraud, forgery, undue influence, coercion or duress, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the will.

Problems with witness requirements

Each state has specific witness requirements for will signings. If those are not complied with, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the will.

The existence of another will

In circumstances when there is another will, a newer will may supersede the older will during the process of contesting the older will.

There are other reasons a will may be challenged that estate planners and their families should also be familiar with. Estate planning provides important peace of mind for estate planners and their loved ones which makes it important to know what makes a will valid and how to challenge a will if necessary.