When a loved one passes, they often leave a will to distribute assets to family members and loved ones. In an ideal scenario, an individual will have finalized their estate plan and an inheritance is ready to be passed down. Unfortunately, there are scenarios where a will may have been altered by third parties for their own gain or improperly executed. If you suspect that your loved one’s will may have been compromised, you have the right to contest it if you have suffered financial damage because of a will. This is a serious issue that needs to be quickly resolved with the help of an experienced lawyer who knows how to protect the rights of their clients.
What if I suspect a will to be invalid?
There are a number of things you need to do if you suspect that a will is invalid. It is not enough to claim that a will does not reflect the wishes of your loved one, but they must identify the legal basis.
Common reasons a will may be considered invalid include:
- Fraud. An unauthorized person may have forged a signature on the will.
- Undue influence. A hospice worker who may be suspected of elder abuse may have coerced a victim into leaving them a portion of their wealth.
- Lack of testamentary capacity. At the time of signing, the testator (person who executes will) must be able to understand the information being presented to them.
How is a contested will resolved?
First, the party must file a formal complaint to a court that addresses the concerns, and the basis of the will contest. This includes filling out a will challenge petition. They must provide sufficient evidence to prove to a judge that a will is invalid. If you fail to abide by the procedures it may result in your case being thrown out. The entire process for contesting a will is fairly long. If a trial occurs it can take a few years to complete.
If you suspect that your loved one’s will is invalid, a lawyer can provide legal assistance. Hiring a lawyer from a will contest law firm such as one from Klenk Law is advantageous because they will make sure you are fully informed about the case details. They will identify the problems and act swiftly to form the necessary strategies to represent you and protect your legal rights. Contact an experienced lawyer today to discuss your options.