Klenk Law

Immoral Acts and Probate Litigation

Pennsylvania Will Contest LawyersAt your parent’s death did you discover assets had mysteriously disappeared? Perhaps someone with a Power of Attorney shifted assets or made gifts or added a beneficiary designation on a bank account? While your parent was ill, did they make an unexpected change to their Will? Maybe the Will being presented for probate was signed shortly before death and favors a child or caregiver differently that prior wills?

These are just a few examples of immoral acts that probate litigation addresses. This is a narrow, focused area of the law and you are best served by gaining advice and representation from an attorney who focuses their practice on Estate Litigation.

Contesting a Will
Contesting or Challenging a Will means that you believe that a judge should invalidate a submitted Will. You think that your Will Contest Lawyer can provide the necessary evidence for a judge to determine the Will invalid. Every state has its own rules about Wills and Trusts, but the most common basis for Will Challenges in the United States are:

  • Forgery: The Will submitted is not signed by the deceased.
  • Capacity: The Will is signed by the deceased, but at the time he did not have the necessary mental capacity to understand what he was signing.
  • Undue Influence: The Will is signed by the deceased, but it was signed only because the undue pressure was placed on the person to sign. But for the Undue Influence, the Will would not have been executed.
  • Fraud: The Will is signed by the deceased but only because of false pretenses.
  • Invalid Execution: The Will was not signed in a way that the state recognizes as valid.

Will Contest Procedures
Will Contests are brought in special courts and in most states heard by judges who focus on estate conflicts. It is not the judge’s job to investigate the facts. You and your attorney must gather the evidence and present it to the judge in the proper form using the Rules of Evidence. This means that witnesses must be deposed, documents subpoenaed and records obtained. The judge can only rule in your favor if you give her the necessary evidence. There is rarely a jury, who might decide a case on emotion. The judge needs facts.

For these reasons, it is essential to retain an experienced Will Contest Lawyer. Will Contests and Will Challenges is not an area of the law in which an attorney should work parttime.

The Statute of Limitations
Each state allows only a specific period in which to bring a Will Contest. If you wait too long, you cannot bring your case even if the facts are apparently in your favor. In some states, like Florida, the statute of limitations is as short as three months. If you have suspicions about a Will or the facts surrounding a deceased’s assets, act quickly, or your chance might be taken from you.

Thank you to the Pennsylvania Will Contest Lawyers and New Jersey Will Challenge Lawyers at Klenklaw for sharing this article.

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