Each of our Will Challenge Attorneys regularly represents clients in defending and challenging the validity of wills and trusts. Typically, these disputes involve a challenge or contest the validity of a will or trust as a result of many factors, including, but not limited to, undue influence, forgery, fraud, and lack of testamentary capacity. Our years of experience focusing on these challenges allow us to explain these complex matters to clients in a simple, direct fashion. We work with clients to analyze the case’s strengths and weaknesses and to arrive at a plan of attack or defense that is in your best interest.
The Will Contest Lawyer helps you focus on the key issues. The heart of a Will Challenge is the belief that the offered Will does not reflect the testator’s actual intent or that the Will is otherwise invalid. A Will Contest begins with a formal objection to the validity of a Will. We file these formal objections in specific locations, such as the Register of Wills, Surrogate, or the Orphans’ Court. Specific procedural rules govern Will Challenges, and failure to follow these standards can lead to the case’s dismissal. It is of vital importance to correctly craft and file the initial Will Challenge Petition. If filed incorrectly, crucial issues might be later barred. For more detailed information, see my page “Will Contests for the Civilian Non-Lawyer.”
Just claiming that a Will does not reflect the deceased’s intent is not enough. There must be a legal basis and theory for dismissing the offered Will. Examples of grounds for a Will Challenge include:
If within the statute of limitations period, an interested party can challenge a Will.
A Will Contest that does not settle, and goes to trial, can take up to two years until completion.
An interested party can contest a Will. An interested party is someone who can demonstrate financial harm created by the Will.
In the context of a Will Contest, “Will Formalities” refers to the state rules regarding proper Will execution. For example, the number of witnesses and signature locations. If these rules are not followed the Will is not a Will.
A Will Contest begins when an interested party has their Will Contest Lawyer draft a petition spelling out the Will Contests’ basis, which is filed in the appropriate court.
Each state has a statute of limitations period. Contact our Will Contest Lawyer, let us know in which jurisdiction the Will falls, and we can tell you how long you have to contest the Will.
If the statute of limitations period has not passed, you can challenge a Will after it has been probated.
A Will Challenge that does not settle and goes to trial can take up to two years.
The person contesting the Will pays his bill, and the person defending the Will pays her bill. Typically, the estate does not pay any portion of the contest expense.
When searching for an attorney experienced in Will Contests, use the search terms Estate Litigation Lawyer or a Will Contest Lawyer.
Before probate, have your Will Contest Lawyer file a Caveat. Quick action gives you the chance to review the Will before it’s acceptance into Probate.
If you need brain surgery, you go to a brain surgeon, not a general practitioner. Sure, a general practitioner can perform brain surgery but expect a messy result. The same holds true for a Will Challenge Attorney. Will Contest cases are highly technical. It takes years of practice in this specific area to accumulate enough experience and knowledge to both attack and defend a Will in a Will Contest.
A successful Will Challenge Attorney requires not only a litigator’s skills but also in-depth knowledge of the specific court overseeing the Will Contest as well as Probate, Estate Planning, and the interpretation of Wills and Trusts. Like brain surgery, these are skills impossible to pick up quickly. Only an experienced Will Contest Lawyer should be trusted to handle a Will Contest.
A Will Challenge Lawyer will likely reduce the estate litigation cost. By being familiar with the process and the court system, a Will Challenge Lawyer can more quickly identify and address issues. Experience with discovery methods and time-taught knowledge of what steps are usually successful help reach conclusions more quickly. In short, a Will Contest Lawyer saves you money.
If you have any questions about a Will Contest or any other estate law topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Our firm has managed successful Will Challenges, as well as successfully defending valid Wills from wrongful Will Challenges, throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. Though headquartered in Philadelphia, our particular set of litigation skills are in demand near and far. Our litigation team focuses on estate matters. Few lawyers focus their entire practice on Estate Litigation, so when someone wants an experienced Will Contest Attorney to challenge a Will or defend a Will, they turn to us.
Peter explained a complex subject very clearly, helped us to decide the best approach to managing our estate and then made it very easy for us to execute the required documents. He will be a valuable resource for years to come and clearly has a great understanding of estate law that will lead to innovative solutions for us. I would unhesitatingly recommend him for estate planning.
Klenk Law is an exceptional practice. Their fine lawyers and staff team up to produce excellent results for their clients. They excel at explaining the often cryptic laws and policies that govern estate planning right down to the complexities of the various "trust" frameworks. Peter himself manages each client together with his great team, and he has a rare quality to be both a walking encyclopedia of planning minutia and also one of the most likable lawyers I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He is truly generous in intellect and in his personal approach to getting the "big picture" for complex family structures. I trust him implicitly to help me make the right choices for the future. In short, Klenk Law is a gem of a firm.
Professional, cheerful, thorough and fast. Peter responded to my request for a consultation right away, and within just a few days my last will and living will were done. Rates are standard.
I saw four lawyers and was told by all of them; I should just forget contesting my mother's will. I knew what happened, but it is very hard to prove undue influence. I contacted the Law Offices of Peter L. Klenk & Associates. Attorney Amanda DiChello took my case. They were very honest and upfront about what would be involved trying to prove what I knew was true. Attorney DiChello may be young but she is extremely knowledgeable and skilled. She listened and understood what I conveyed to her. She knew exactly what information to use and crafted an outstanding interrogatory and many powerful depositions. Attorney DiChello understood the various emotional feelings this case created for my family and me; she was always there for us with a kind and encouraging word. We went to trial. The amount of work which she and her Paralegal did for the trial was incredible. They both knew my case inside and out! Attorney DiChello's powerful interrogative and thinking skills produced a positive outcome. Attorney DiChello did what other seasoned lawyers said was impossible!
Peter explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Everything was done in the time frame he said it. Could not have been better!