What You Need to Know About Will Disputes

The death of a parent is a big loss for the children left behind. While it can bring siblings together, it can also cause problems or deepen existing conflicts. This is especially true when money is an issue. It sometimes happens that one of the siblings feels slighted and decides to contest their parent’s last will.

You can consult family law attorneys like those from The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. for help in resolving the issue. But first, here is some information about will disputes that you should know:

Overturning a will

Being a legal document, the last will cannot be tossed aside easily, even if your sibling contests it because he or she feels slighted or left out. The process can be very time-consuming and expensive.

Who can contest a will?

The probate law mandates that only children, spouses, and people mentioned in the last or previous wills can contest a will. A contest starts when a qualified person notifies the court of a problem they see in the document. A contest can only happen within the probate process, in case of the existence of a valid question in the process of preparation or documentation of the will.

Reasons that can overturn a will

A will presented in the proper format is always presumed valid by the court. But, there are four main legal grounds to contest a will. These are:

  • There are questions about the signature or signing of the will, and the witnesses;
  • The mental capacity of the testator at the time of signing the will may be in question;
  • Your parent signed the will because of a fraud; or
  • When signing the will, your parent was under the control of a person, such as a caretaker, who influenced him or her to sign.

In case the court invalidates a will, a previous will, if there is one, may be put in place. If there is no previous will, the assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state.

Before contesting a will, make sure you have valid grounds. This way, you can avoid wasting precious time and resources.