Inheritance litigation is difficult because the court considers a will the voice of the person who wrote it. The court generally adheres to these documents because the individual can no longer communicate his or her wishes. Regardless of how well constructed a will is, disputes still occur. A wills contest can arise because of:
An adult must have the mental capacity to fully understand the legal aspects when creating a will. Challenges in these cases involve senility, dementia or the influence of substances that diminish capacity. A challenger has to prove mental insufficiency at the time the will was created.
This occurs when one or more people coerce or deceive the testator into making a will that does not express his or her true intentions. People can have wills contested if they believe the document to be fraudulent. A potential scenario is the discovery of another will in a different jurisdiction.
A wills contest can arise if the document does not meet certain legal requirements. In addition to being properly filed in the deceased person’s state of legal residence, the will must be signed and dated before witnesses. Most states require that the witnesses be adults who are not listed as beneficiaries.
Each state has laws governing various aspects of wills. Beneficiaries and other people may seek to have wills contested because the terms may not be clear and concise, which means there can be other interpretations.
Although a will can be very helpful for the beneficiaries, there are times when one should be challenged allowing for it be amended or replaced. Anyone who believes that the provisions of a will are erroneous and not enforceable should contact an experienced inheritance litigation attorney.