Who Can Contest a Will?

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Photo of Calculator, glasses and black pen on financial documents

After a loved one dies, the essential grieving process can be soured by the late relative’s estate and how it will be divided among family. Cousin Albert can’t contest your late father’s will as easily as you might think, however. Depending on how the will was drafted and who was named in the will, only certain people will be allowed to contest wills. If you’re not sure whether you can contest a will, check out the list below and see which descriptions best fit your personal circumstances.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are those who are named in the will and can include:

  • A spouse
  • Children or grandchildren
  • Other relatives
  • Charities
  • Friends or pets

Beneficiaries can challenge a will, whether they are related to the deceased or not.

Heirs

Heirs are the most commonly named beneficiaries of a will. Heirs are relatives who inherit under a will when a decedent dies without a will. This typically includes:

  • Spouses
  • Children or grandparents
  • Parents or siblings

Heirs can challenge a will if they believe they were left with an unequal share in the will.

Minors

Minors who are not of age cannot legally initiate legal proceedings. This means that they cannot contest a will until they are legally considered an adult, usually at the age of 18, and no longer a minor.

If you fit one of these descriptions, you may be able to contest a will. However, keep in mind that you can’t just contest a will because you believe the splitting of an estate is unfair. A will can be contested if it is thought to be invalid or if something is wrong with the will. This can include mental incapacity on the part of the deceased, fraud, or improper execution of the will.

You can find more information about contesting a will here. If you’re still unsure, contact one of our experienced attorneys today. The will attorneys of Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP have the litigation experience to effectively represent clients during will contests.