Legal Guide

What to Do If You Believe a Will Should Be Challenged

When a relative or loved one dies, going to court over their will is something you may have never imagined you would have to do. Unfortunately, there are some cases where a will isn’t what it seems, and this may be due to your relative having dementia or another mental illness when they completed the will or if you believe the will is a forgery. If this is the case, understanding what to do next is important to ensure you get the inheritance you deserve. Here is what to do next if you believe a will should be challenged.

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Mental Capacity

When a will is written, it must be by someone who has the mental capacity to do so. This means if your relative or loved one had a mental illness that could have clouded their judgment, or if they signed the will during the late stages of dementia, the will may not be legal. To establish if the writer of the will had the capacity to make a will, the following questions must be answered:

  • Did the writer know what the will was?
  • Did they understand who they were leaving their money/belongings to?
  • Did they understand how to distribute their property?

If you believe the answer was no to any of these questions then the court will have to speak to witnesses, such as those who watched the will be signed, a doctor, or the lawyer who was with the client when they made or updated their will.

Influenced or Forged

Another reason a will may be unjust is because the will was influenced by a family member or caregiver. This can be difficult to prove and may need witnesses. If you believe that someone is influencing your loved one to change their will, your loved one needs to know that this is financial abuse, which must be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, this may be a case of one person’s word against another, so gathering as much evidence as you can is essential. If you believe the will is forged, you should speak to a probate lawyer immediately.

Getting Help

If you are going to challenge a will, first you should ensure that the will has been properly filled out. If this isn’t the case, the will won’t stand as proper documentation and you may have a strong case, especially if you believe the will has been forged. Any will must be signed and dated by two witnesses who have mental capacity. In many U.S. states, this can’t be anyone named in the will. If you need help challenging a will, you should contact a professional lawyer who has dealt with cases such as this before. You should also meet for a consultation before deciding which lawyer is right for you. If you want to understand more information about challenging a will, check out this probate lawyer video.

Challenging a will can be a difficult time for any family member and so trusting a professional lawyer to help you through this enables you to get what you deserve and ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out.

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