You want your loved one’s legacy to reflect their wishes — and, if it doesn’t, you may be left with questions. What prompted the changes to their estate plan? Is it still possible to protect their legacy? In some cases, contesting their will might be the best way to ensure that the court respects their wishes.
Was your loved one able to make important decisions about their estate plan?
In order to make their estate plan, a person must have testamentary capacity. This means that they must fully understand both what their estate contains and the decisions that they make in writing their will. If your loved one faced dementia, cancer, drug addiction or other conditions that limited their ability to make these decisions, it may have impacted their ability to make those decisions.
Do you believe that someone influenced your loved one?
While most people consider their relationships when making their estate plan, sometimes the people closest to them may take advantage of those relationships. If your loved one’s caretaker, a new friend or even a family member received an unexpected portion of the estate and you believe that they pressured your loved one into changing their estate plan, that influence could be grounds to challenge the will.
Is the will fraudulent?
If you suspect that the will was forged or altered without the knowledge of your loved one, a will contest may be the best way to keep this fraudulent document from impacting their legacy. A fraudulent will may involve forged signatures or sudden alterations.
Does the will meet the standards set by state law?
Each state has its own requirements for a will. If your loved one’s will does not meet those requirements, however, the court may not consider it valid. For example, if a will lacks the required witness signatures, the court would not be able to use that will to distribute your loved one’s estate.
If you have concerns about whether a will truly reflects the wishes of your loved one, you may be able to challenge the will in court.