When someone important to you passes away or faces incapacitation, that person’s will may involve you in some way, or might conspicuously leave you unmentioned. If so, it is always wise to review the document carefully to fully understand your role in the process of distributing the decedent’s estate.
In many instances, the will itself may include contradictions or may treat you or some other party particularly unfairly. For instance, you may believe that you stood to receive some significant portion of the esteem or should otherwise benefit from it, but the will does not include instructions to that effect.
If you suspect that a will is not valid and violates your rights or does not represent the wishes or intentions of the decedent, you may have grounds to challenge the will. Examine all your legal options and opportunities very carefully to make sure that you take the proper steps to keep yourself and your rights safe.
Weaknesses in the will’s creation
If the will in question is not internally consistent, this may indicate hasty preparation or poorly executed changes to a previous version of the will. This may occur for many reasons, but any inconsistencies within a will may provide grounds for a challenge. Major life events that often require will maintenance include:
- Marriage, divorce and remarriage
- Birth or death of a family member
- Significant losses or gains in the value of the estate
- Changes in the law that affect estate planning
If the creator of the will does not address any changes these life events may bring to the table, the will may not accurately reflect the creator’s wishes. Once he or she passes away, it is too late to make changes, and the will may require a challenge.
Improper influence and testamentary capacity
If you suspect that the decedent created a will or revised an existing will while he or she was not of sound mind or was under undue influence by others, it is wise to consider your legal options. When significant assets are on the line, it is common for one party or another to attempt to influence the owner of an estate to revise a will in their favor, potentially in an unfair or illegal way.
There are many circumstances that justify a challenge to a will, but it is difficult to know how strong of a case you may have without carefully reviewing your own experience through the eyes of the law. Do not waste time or opportunity when it comes to estate planning disputes, but take action today to keep your rights and privileges protected with all the legal tools you have available.