How to Contest a Will
Contesting a will is difficult. While each state has different laws that dictate the exact ways a will can be found invalid, there are four basic rules that all states follow. Contesting a will, either successfully or unsuccessfully, will impose serious financial and emotional strain on your family. Even if your lawyer tells you that have a case, the money you make may not be worth the cost.
The most common (and the most successful) way contest a way is to prove that the will was not signed in accordance with state laws. There are very specific instructions that make the signing of a will valid. The number of witnesses, who the witnesses are, and where the will was signed are just a few of the variables that have to be properly documented to keep the signing procedure in accordance with state laws.
Mental capacity is the second way to contest a will. State laws, however, give a wide berth to the definition of “mental capacity” or “testamentary capacity.” Forgetfulness or early signs of dementia are typically not sufficient to prove mental incapacity. You will also need the recent testimony from a physician to prove your case.
Undue influence is the third way to contest a will. You will have to prove extreme duress and pressure to show that the testator (he or she signing the will) was manipulated or forced to sign the will. Again, this is difficult to prove unless the testator has been isolated from friends and family for an extended period prior to singing the will.
Lastly, fraud is the fourth way to contest a will. Typically, this means the testator did not know he or she was signing a will. This is usually include an analysis of the first method mentioned above. Was the will signed in accordance with state laws? As those state laws are in place to unsure the testator is aware of the document, a fraud case will closely examine the conditions under which the will was signed.
If you want to contest a will, time is limited. Contact a lawyer and carefully consider the likeliness of your success.