The will is designed to prevent disagreements between family members and other loved ones after death by outlining the wishes of the deceased. Unfortunately, some of the individuals involved might feel that the property and other valuable possessions have not been divided fairly. In such cases, the dissatisfied person or parties can launch a contest in court to prevent the execution of the will as is. The contest can be in relation to the entire will or a small portion of the document. If you are facing potential opposition as a beneficiary or an executor of the estate with a disputed will, you should engage a lawyer for counsel. In addition, it is important to understand the elements that the court will consider when evaluating the legitimacy of the contest.
Validity of the Will
When the court is dealing with a contested will, the primary aspect that they will consider is the validity of the document, legally speaking. Basically, if the opposing party can proof that the will was not created according to the expected standards, the entire testament will be declared null. A valid will should be the last one created and signed by the deceased party. It should have been witnessed by at least two individuals to meet the formal legal requirements. The will should not have any alterations after the original signing. However, an added codicil is accepted as long as it does not contradict the original will.
Possibility of Undue Influence
The will can be disputed even when it is valid if it is determined that the will-maker was under undue influence from another party. In simple terms, if an individual assisted in the preparation of the will and now stands to gain a lot from the testament, the court will consider the possibility of unfair actions. The person suspected of exercising the influence must proof that they did not use trickery, induce fear or pressure the deceased into certain decision. You should note that persuasion is not exactly illegal. However, if there is confirmation that the departed was somehow strong-armed into transforming their original intentions, the testament will be overturned.
A will can be contested if the wording is ambiguous and open to interpretation. If someone believes that they have been excluded due to misunderstanding, they can launch a dispute. The court will attempt to rectify the misinterpretation, but this does not mean that the will-maker's intentions in the testament will be realised. Therefore, you should hire a lawyer to present any evidence that could make the testator's will clear to the court.Share