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How to Contest a Will in Philadelphia

Posted on Mon Mar 4, 2019, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “Please Explain How to Contest a Will in Philadelphia.”

What Are the Grounds for a Will Contest

Will Contest Lawyer, Glen Ridenour.

What Are the Grounds for a Philadelphia Will Contest:

Any interested party can contest a Will. Being a child, spouse, or just upset by the Will isn’t enough.  The word “interested” means someone who has suffered a loss.  For example, if the prior Will divided the estate equally between three children and the new Will gives the estate only to one child, then the two excluded children have suffered a loss.  They are interested.  Each has the ability to challenge the Philadelphia Will. But, using the same facts, if a neighbor is upset with the two children being excluded, the neighbor cannot challenge the Will. Even if successful, the neighbor stands to gain nothing. Legally, the neighbor is not an interested person.

Once you have established that you are an interested party, you can move forward with the basis of your case.  The basis for a case means the elements that you believe you can prove to successfully challenge the will.  To aid you in understanding these ideas, in this blog I am giving you examples. These are designed to give you a broad understanding. Below the examples are links to more detailed information. I hope you find this helpful!

Undue Influence in a Philadelphia Will Contest.

In a Will Challenge case, Undue Influence exists if a person used a position of power over the deceased to “influence” that person to change the Will to benefit the person with the power in a way that the deceased otherwise would not have done.

  • An example of Undue Influence: Mrs. Rittenhouse suffered a series of medical problems leaving her unable to take care of her day-to-day finances. Relying more and more on her son, Washington, she gave him a Financial Power of Attorney. Washington took over complete control of his mother’s assets.  Mrs. Rittenhouse’s health continued to decline.  When her other son, Franklin, tried to contact her Washington would say she was too weak to talk.  Washington informed his mother that for him to continue helping her, she would have to change her will giving him a larger share of the estate. If she refused, he said he would have to stop helping. Fearful that she would be left alone, Mrs. Rittenhouse signed a new will drafted by Washington giving him 3/4 of her estate. At her death, Washington filed the will.  
    • Franklin has the standing to challenge the will.  If the judge rejects the will based on Washington’s Undue Influence, Franklin’s share of the estate increases.  Franklin hires us as his Philadelphia Will Contest Lawyers and we file the Petition.
    • Follow this link for more information about Philadelphia Undue Influence Will Contests.

Lack of Capacity in a Philadephia Will Contest.

A lack of capacity Will Contest arises when an interested person believes the testator wasn’t of sound mind when signing the Will. 

  • Example of Lack of Capacity: Mrs. Fitler suffered a series of strokes that left her permanently bedridden. Further, the strokes damaged her brain so that she no longer remembers her children’s names when asked. Also, she has forgotten where she has invested her money. Her son, Kensington, drafted a will for her signature. In the prior will, Mrs. Fitler divided her estate equally between her two children. This will gives everything to Kensington. Mrs. Filter signed the will. At his mother’s death, Kensington filed the will and claimed the entire estate. 
    • Kensington’s brother, Port Richmond, has standing to for a Philadelphia Will Contest.  If the judge rejects the will based on Lack of Capacity, Port Richmond will get 1/2 the estate rather than nothing. Port Richmond retains us as his Philadelphia Will Contest Lawyers and we file the Petition. The judge grants discovery so we can secure the medical records and depose doctors and nurses.
    • Follow this link for more information about Philadelphia Lack of Capacity Will Contests.

In Conclusion: How to Contest a Will in Philadelphia.

I hope these Examples of How to Contest a Will in Philadelphia were useful. We are always happy to brainstorm with you about your own, unique situation. 

Let our Will Contest Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our Will Contest Attorneys.  By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!

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