Family dynamics can be complicated, and this is never more true than when a loved one dies. Sometimes, one family member believes their loved one’s will was ill-gained and they want to contest it. There are a variety of grounds for a will contest, including duress, lack of capacity, improper execution and fraud.
Duress occurs when a person coerces another to execute a will or estate plan that they would not otherwise do on their own free will. For example, they may threaten a loved one in a manner that makes their loved one feel coerced. Duress is one grounds for contesting a will.
Lack of capacity
Incapacity is another ground for contesting a will. Sometimes our loved one’s mental capacities decline to the point that they cannot make knowledgeable decisions on their own behalf. This can lead them to being taken advantage of. If a person lacks testamentary capacity to execute a will, the will may be contested.
There are specific requirements that must be met to execute a valid will. For example, there are a certain number of witnesses that must be present when the will is signed, and the will must be signed under certain conditions. If a will is improperly executed, it could lead to a will contest.
Sometimes a loved one is enticed to execute a will via fraud. Fraud can be intentional and includes making false statements. The person to whom the statement is made must have reasonably relied upon the statement when making the will, and they must have suffered harm because of said reliance.
Learn more about your rights
If you believe your loved one’s will should not be followed, it is important to make sure you understand what you need to do to contest the will. Will contests can be difficult, but sometimes are necessary. With the right information you can take the steps necessary to protect your rights and interests.