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When Can a Will Be Challenged?

Posted on Mon Oct 8, 2018, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

The Legal Capacity of the Creator or Testator.

Will Challenges Law Firm Philadelphia, PA

Challenging a will isn’t easy.  The only person who knows the truth is dead.  A will should reflect the deceased’s wishes.  The court has a written document; now your legal team must provide the judge evidence enough to convince her to disregard that will.  The supposed author is dead, so this evidence must come from elsewhere.  Many of these cases resemble detective novels.  The results often turns on financial or medical records. Your legal team must collect and analyze these records. Further, your will contest lawyer may determine the necessity of handwriting or mental health experts.

Standing.

Those parties with anything to gain from the will’s dismissal may challenge. Spouses are usually the most successful will contestants. Often the challenge is based on their spouse not have the requisite mental capacity. Another route is proving a will modification resulted from undue influence.

If you successfully challenge a will, the judge can void the entire document or portions of the will. The facts will dictate the result.  In some cases, the judge orders probated an earlier will. In others, a prior will provision is reinstated. If the court voids the only existing will, the judge will order the estate distributed under the rules of intestacy. Dying without a will is called dying intestate. Family relationships determine intestate distribution.

Because will challenges are complicated, wise litigants enlist an experienced attorney.

Following are some of the basis for will contests.

The Legal Capacity of the Creator or Testator.

  • To create a Will, you must be 18 or older. In some areas, individuals who serve in the military or who are married are deemed legally competent to sign a will.
  • Wills contests may result because the creator suffered from dementia, senility, or insanity.  Further, drug or alcohol abuse can render a person incapacitated. Ask yourself, did the grantor understand the following:
    • The value or extent of the property.
    • His or her immediate family.
    • The beneficiaries’ identify.
    • What function the will served.
    • What results came from the will’s terms.

A Will Challenged When Forgery, Fraud, or Undue Influence is Suspected.

If you can show that the will is the result of forgery, fraud or undue influence, you may be able to challenge its validity.  If someone manipulates a person to leave all or most of the property to the manipulator, the court can thwart the manipulator.  Should the judge agree with the evidence, he can disregard the tainted will.

Most Recent Will Version.

Finding and submitting a more recent will can void an older will. Even if an older will has been accepted, this is true. Dating documents is critical in creating legal papers. The court will always strive to recognize the most recent documents. These presumably represent the testator’s last wishes.

Witnesses.

Working with an Estate Planning lawyer helps ensure the will’s correct signing. One requirement, except in Pennsylvania, is the correct number of witnesses.

Contact a will challenges law firm Philadelphia, PA trusts from Klenk Law if you have questions concerning the legality of specific provisions of a will.

 

 

Tags:

Will Challenge Attorney, Will Challenge Lawyer, Will Contest, Will Contest Attorney, Will Contest Lawyer

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