Whenever an individual dies and they have a last will, it is submitted to the judge’s or surrogate’s court for the probate proceeding. The probate proceeding results determine if the will is valid or not. In case the will is valid, it is thereby considered to be admitted to the probate and therefore, the terms of the will must be followed. This means that the estate assets that are included in the will are shared according to the terms of the wills.
Not every time the will is considered to be admitted to probate. At times the will is not valid and therefore, the people affected by the will need to contest a will. However, before the will is said to be admitted by the probate, some individuals are asked to appear in court so that the facts and situations surrounding the will preparation and signing are investigated. In case these circumstances and facts are questionable then the will must be contented.
What is contesting a will?
Contesting a will means that heirs, family members, beneficiaries, and dissatisfied individual objects object to the validity of the will. This happens when the above are not content with the will or they feel that they were not favoured by the will. For you to contest a will, you must have a lawyer who can help you with the process of contesting a will. Contesting a will is usually a part of the family law which means that you need to look for a family lawyer who specialises in this field to help you handle the case in the most appropriate manner.
Reasons why you could end up contesting a will
There are certain reasons why you could contest a will. If you want to know the legal grounds on how to contest a will, read on:
- The will was improperly executed
One of the reasons why many people end up contesting a will is because the will was not properly executed depending on the laws of a certain location. For a will to be termed as properly executed, it should meet some requirements such as.
The testator must;
- Sign at the end of the will document
- Sign the will only while in the presence of two witnesses
- Declare to the witnesses that the document the individual is signing is the will
- The witnesses must also sign the will when the testator request them and in the testator’s presence
- Undue influence
The other reasons why people could be contesting a will are because of undue influence. At times, the persons affected in the will may persuade the testator to change the will in their favour but at the expense of the other beneficiaries, family members, or heirs. In most cases, the person who exercises undue influence creates a strong relationship of reliance, trust, and confidence with the testator for them to feel obliged to their requests. In case of facts are showing undue influence to the testator the will is ways contested.
- Unclear will
When the testator leaves a will that is not clear, there are no instructions on how the properties should be administered. There should be contesting a will for the law to help the involved to come up with clear instructions for the properties administration.
- If the deceased did not have a sound mind
A will must be written, drafted, and signed when the testator is of sound mind. In case you feel that the deceased did the above when they were not of sound mind, then contesting a will be allowed. However, you have to show proof that the deceased did not have a sound mind.