From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “My aunt died last week. At the funeral, my uncle informed my sister and me that just before she died, my aunt signed a new will that gives him everything. My aunt told us that she was leaving us $100,000.00 each in her will. My aunt was in the hospital for a month on morphine and didn’t even know who we were. We want to challenge the will, but Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will?”
Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will?
Only a party in interest with standing can bring a Will Challenge. But, anyone can have standing given the right facts. Will contests are not limited to the deceased’s children.
The courts are a busy place, and if anyone on earth could walk in and challenge any will, the judges could never handle the caseload. Therefore, only those who are a “party in interest” can bring a will contest.
Who Is a Party In Interest?
A party in interest is a person who was financially harmed by the will in question.
For example, if we discover your aunt’s prior Will excluded you, then this new will does not harm you. Your rights are unchanged. You received nothing under the former will nor this one. So, you are not a party in interest.
But, if what your aunt told you is correct and you were to receive $100,000.00 in the prior will, then this new will does harm you. You are a party in interest and have the standing to challenge the will.
What Is the Procedure?
First, we would file the will contest petition. Once the judge determines you are an interested party, we enter the discovery phase. Among other things, we have the right to subpoena your aunt’s medical records and depose the witnesses. Should the matter not settle, we then go to trial.
Will Contests are not for the faint-hearted. Though a Will Contest can end in a quick settlement, there is no way to force your aunt to agree. Only the judge, after a trial, can order a result. Therefore, you can hope for the best, but you should plan for a trial.
For more detailed information about Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will, see my page “Will Contests for Non-Lawyer.”
In Conclusion: Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will.
I hope you found helpful this short article about Can Nieces and Nephews Contest a Will. I have also included some links for more detailed information. If you are curious about pursuing a Will Contest, contact us and let our Will Contest Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
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