How to Contest a Will

By: David Fagan
Beneficiaries sometimes contest a will because they’re not happy withthe size of their share or may feel left out of the beneficiary listall together. Whatever the reason, many wills are subject tocontesting; this is especially true with larger estates and large sumsof cash.Contesting a will is simply a formal objection against the validity ofa will in which you don't believe the will reflects the actual intentof the testator. Wills are contested on the grounds that the testatorlacked the ability/capacity, was mentally disabled or intoxicated,delusional, or a subject of partial influence.When contesting a will on the basis of the capacity of the testatorthen consider if the testator was above the age of 18 since minors aretermed incapable.

Litigation usually is about incapacity of testatordue to senility, dementia and insanity or any such defects which renderhim/her unable to form a proper will. Although, the state recognizesthat capacity to form a will is present if three conditions exist.These conditions are that the testator knows the value and extent ofhis property, which his family are legal heirs of and how they treatedhim in his lifetime. This legal test is relevant because dissatisfiedheirs ( complainant ) who expected a larger share should have to comeup with the burden of proof that establishes the incapacity of thetestator. Often times it’s hard to prove someone was mentally unable tohave the capacity to write a will.Besides these conditions, there are a few minor technical details thatcould be contested. If there is a mistake on the will it can then becontested and proved invalid. Common mistakes are that beneficiariessometimes sign as witnesses, and another common mistake is when thesignatures are not in order. Property value could also not becalculated correctly, which could cause a will to be contested. Thenames of the beneficiaries may be wrongly identified on the willScience Articles, orthe dates maybe wrongly marked. There are many minor details that couldbe contested.

Estate Planning
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