Most Recently Updated Sept. 16, 2017.
Who Can Challenge a Will In Bucks County?
From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Who Can Challenge a Will In Bucks County
“My grandfather, a resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, died of dementia 12 years ago. Shortly before his death, his will was changed, giving everything to my aunt. We believed that my grandfather died broke, but now that my aunt died, we found out that he had a joint account with her containing a large sum of money. The prior will states that I would receive a portion of his estate. Can I challenge the will?”
First, Determine What You Can Gain from a Will Contest.
First, a will challenge case alone based on Incapacity or Undue Influence, even if successful, would not help you. You stated that the funds were in a joint account. A joint account passes outside of probate, meaning the will has no effect on the joint ownership. To be successful, you would first have to prove that the joint account was created improperly—perhaps under undue influence or forgery—so that the assets would pour into the estate. Then you would have to prove that the existing will was invalid.
The Statute of Limitations.
Unfortunately, you have waited too long to pursue the case. Pennsylvania Will challenges or will contests must be brought within one year of the will’s probate with the Register of Wills. A will challenge is an appeal from that probate. And after one year you are no longer able to appeal that probate.
This time limit makes sense. Without a limit, there would never be a way to be sure that estate assets could be sold without a future challenge. If you had acted within one year you could have challenged the will. You were an interested party, because if the Will filed for probate was found invalid you would have inherited your portion of the estate. You would have then also had the right to do discovery and find out how the account became joint with your Aunt.
If you would like to have more details, read my Article, “Will Contests Explained for the Non-Lawyer: Everything You Need To Know.”
Who Can Challenge a Will In Bucks County:
In conclusion, in this Post, I tried to explain Who Can Challenge a Will In Bucks County. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. So, let me know how I did, comments and questions are welcome!
Furthermore, I would be happy to answer your questions. If you have any other matters for a Bucks County Will Challenge Attorney, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. We try to make the process painless!
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!
Author, Peter Klenk, Esq.