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What do you need to contest a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Not every will is equal. Unfortunately, some people will battle with an unfair or unequal will that intentionally avoids giving someone their dues, or a will that was the result of undue influence.

In these cases, it is possible to contest the will. However, not every person has what they need in order to do so. But what exactly counts as necessary?

What is standing?

Free Will discusses what one needs in order to contest a will. The first thing a person needs is standing.  In order to have standing, a person needs to either suffer a personal or financial impact due to the terms of the will in question.

Such people can include disinherited heirs-at-law, i.e. individuals who have a close relation to the decedent who would have received something from the estate if it was not for the will. It also includes fiduciaries and beneficiaries in a prior will, such as if one got cut out of a more recent edition of the will or underwent a notable reduction in assets.

Even if a person suspects the will is invalid, they do not have the legal standing to contest without falling under one of these two categories.

No contest clauses

There is the possibility of a no-contest clause, too. Under such clauses, the beneficiary stands to lose any inheritance from the will if they unsuccessfully challenge it, but this is not an issue for those who have gotten cut out of the will in the first place.

If a person believes they are facing an invalid will, they have nothing to lose in challenging it.