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Will Contests

Contesting a will is an unpleasant but sometimes necessary process in order to ensure that everyone gets what they are owed. In order to contest a will, decisive action must be taken during the probate process.

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Will Contests Legal Guides

The Nordhaus Firm

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21 years in practice
Advance Healthcare Directives, Divorce & Family Law, Divorce Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning
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The Nordhaus Firm

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21 years in practice
Advance Healthcare Directives, Divorce & Family Law, Divorce Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning
View Profile

Disputing a Last Will and Testament

When disputing or contesting a will, there are two main factors that the court will consider. A plaintiff can argue against a will if they have standing to do so and a reason to suspect the validity of a will.

Establishing Standing

Like any legal process, contesting a will requires the plaintiff to have the right to do so. This right is known as “standing.” There are several ways that someone can show that they have standing when contesting a will:

1. The plaintiff was part of a previous will.
2. The plaintiff is part of a current will.
3. The plaintiff would be given assets under state law.

Once one of these standings has been proven, the probate court will allow the complaint to move forward.

Disputing Legitimacy

The most common way to successfully contest a will is to prove that the will used by the probate court is not valid. This can be shown by either demonstrating that the will used was not created voluntarily by the deceased, by producing a newer will, or by showing that the will is not valid according to state law.

Challenging a will on the basis that it was not voluntarily written can take two forms: coercion and incapacity. A will is found to be created through coercion if there is some undue pressure placed on the deceased to amend or rewrite the will by a third party. A will can also be invalid if it was created or amended while the deceased was not in a fully lucid state of mind. This can be during a period of temporary mental incapacity, such as intoxication, or through permanent mental incapacity, such as dementia.

Planning For The Future

If you want to file a will contest to address an issue in the probate system, you will need the help of an experienced Trusts & Estates attorney. A Trusts & Estates attorney can ensure that your life plans are legally enforceable and airtight by utilizing their experience and mastery of the subject matter.

In order to achieve this best outcome, however, you will need an attorney who has the expertise and resources to take your case all the way. That’s why you should contact Attorney at Law. By partnering with AAL, you will be able to avoid slogging through the quagmire of unscrupulous lawyers looking to exploit your case.

At AAL, we only partner with the best firms in your area, helping you find the best attorney for your case. Don’t wait, contact AAL today to be matched with skilled and experienced attorneys in your area who practice Trusts & Estates law.

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Will Contests Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I contest a will?

Whether or not a will can be challenged depends on whether or not an individual has standing. In order to have the standing necessary to challenge a will, it must be demonstrated that the individual would be entitled to a share of the deceased’s assets according to state law or the individual was included in a previous will.

2. How do I contest a will?

As long as the statute of limitations has not expired, a will contest can be filed as a petition with the probate court. While this can be accomplished alone, will contests are far more likely to succeed if a trusts & estates attorney is retained.

3. How long does it take to contest a will?

How long it takes to contest a will depends on the way that the will is contested. If the will is contested with solid evidence and concise arguments it can take only a few weeks to receive a verdict. On the other hand, if the will at issue presents a complex problem that is not easily decided one way or the other, it can take months or even years to fully settle.

4. How much does it cost to contest a will?

Depending on the attorney hired, hourly rates may range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars an hour. More complex contests will inherently take longer to resolve and subsequently will be more expensive to settle.

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