Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

When can someone contest a will during probate?

When a loved one passes away, dealing with the legalities of their estate can be a challenging process. One disruptive aspect that may arise is the contesting of a will during probate.

Probate is the legal procedure that oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. While the deceased’s wishes are typically respected, there are situations in which someone may challenge the will.

Lack of testamentary capacity

One common reason for a challenge to the will is the assertion that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity when creating the document. This means that the deceased may not have been of sound mind or fully aware of the consequences of their actions when making decisions about their estate. If there is evidence that the deceased was mentally incapacitated at the time of creating the will, it may be invalid.

Undue influence

Another reason to contest a will is the claim of undue influence. This refers to the act of someone exerting pressure on the testator to make changes to their will that they would not have otherwise made.

Fraud or forgery

If there is evidence that the will is a product of forgery or fraud, a beneficiary can challenge it during probate. Ensuring the authenticity of the document is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the probate process.

Improper execution

For a will to be valid, it must meet specific legal requirements for execution. If there are issues with the signing, witnessing or notarization, it could be invalid. Proper execution is essential to ensure the document’s legality, and any deviation from the legal standards can lead to a valid contest.

Statistics show that probate can cost as much as 10% of the value of the estate itself, and even then there are valid circumstances under which a beneficiary can contest the will. Many people therefore go to great lengths to avoid probate, but those who do go through probate should understand the possible complications.

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