Have you found yourself in a situation where you believe it’s necessary to challenge a loved one’s will? While we think of wills as iron clad, there are circumstances in which a person’s will can be challenged. An experienced estate planning attorney can talk you through the options and help you navigate what can be a difficult process. Here are several situations in which it would be reasonable to challenge a will.
The Person Who Passed Wasn’t In The Required Mental Capacity
When a person signs their will, they must be of sound mind, memory, and understanding at the time of signing. This means they must:
- Understand that they’re signing a will
- Be aware of the contents of their will
- Comprehend the value of their assets
- Fully grasp the consequences of excluding people from their will, for example one of their children
- Not have any “disorders of the mind” when going through this process
Undue influence, also called coercion, means that the person created and signed their will while being pressured or coerced by someone else. Therefore, the person’s will may not reflect their true intentions, and if that’s the case it can be challenged. For wealthy individuals who have complicated business or family affairs, undue influence may come from one or more of the beneficiaries.
The Will is Fraudulent
While fraudulent wills are rare, they can happen. Examples of fraud include one beneficiary lying about another beneficiary in order for them to receive less money, or someone impersonating the deceased in order to execute a will.
Mistakes Were Made In The Will
If you believe there’s a mistake in your loved one’s will, it may either be a clerical error or it may be a failure of the Testator to understand the will’s instructions. Your attorney can help you file a rectification, which must be done within a certain window of time.
The Person’s True Intentions Have Not Been Executed Correctly
The individual who executes a will is the Testator, and they’re selected by the person who drafted the will. It’s very important that the Testator follows the deceased’s instructions exactly, and if there is any disagreement or ambiguity around the way the will has been executed, it may be possible to challenge it.