Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult. In addition to the emotional and financial burdens associated with the passing of a loved one, many people must also decide if they want to contest the will left behind by the deceased. When a significant amount of property is on the line, you might want to consider contesting a will in the future.
Here are three things that you will need to know in order to successfully contest a will in court.
1. Determine how the will was signed.
In order for you to contest a will, you must be able to offer proof that the will is invalid. One easy way to invalidate a will is to show that it was signed improperly. Most states have regulations that strictly govern when and where a legal will should be executed.
These regulations typically require a will to be signed in the presence of witnesses, who must also sign the document to verify that they were present at the time of execution. Showing that regulations were not followed in the signing of a loved one's will can give you grounds to contest the dispersal of a loved one's assets according to that will.
2. Determine when the will was signed.
Another valuable piece of information that can help you successfully contest a loved one's will is the time frame in which the will was signed. In order for a will to be valid, the individual executing the document must have the mental capacity to understand the value of his or her assets as well as the legal ramifications of signing the will.
If your loved one suffered from memory lapses or dementia, a will signed after the onset of these medical conditions should be contested.
3. Determine the conditions under which the will was signed.
If your loved one's will was created during the last years of his or her life, advanced age could have left your loved one susceptible to fraud. People who prey on the elderly can present forms that may appear to be a deed transfer or power of attorney but are actually a will and testament instead.
Questioning witnesses to determine whether or not your loved one was aware that he or she was signing a will at the time of execution can help you gather facts that will support contesting the will in court.
Understanding some of the legal grounds on which a will can be contested will allow you to utilize this information to contest a loved one's will in the future. To learn more, contact a probate attorney near you.