The loss of a loved one is an emotional and challenging time, and the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a dispute over the deceased’s will.
However, there may be valid reasons to contest a will and ensure that the estate carries out a deceased’s true intentions.
Lack of testamentary capacity
One of the main reasons to contest a will is if the testator, the person who created the will, lacked the mental capacity to do so. Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s legal and mental ability to understand the implications of creating a will, their assets and the beneficiaries they are designating. If the testator was suffering from a mental illness, dementia or other cognitive impairment when they drafted the will, it may be grounds for contesting its validity.
Undue influence or coercion
Another reason to contest a will is if you suspect that the testator was under undue influence or coercion when they created the document. Undue influence occurs when someone manipulates or pressures the testator into drafting a will that benefits the influencer, rather than reflecting the true wishes of the testator. If you believe that a family member, caregiver or friend exerted undue influence on your loved one, it may be necessary to challenge the will to ensure that the estate honors their genuine intentions.
Improper execution of the will
For the courts to consider a will valid, it must adhere to specific legal formalities. In most states, these requirements include the presence of two witnesses when the testator signs the document, and the witnesses must sign the will as well. If the will was not executed correctly, the courts could deem it invalid, providing grounds to contest its contents.
Contesting a will is a complex and emotional process, but if you believe that your loved one’s last wishes were not accurately represented in their will, it may be necessary to take action.