What should I know about contesting a will?

| Mar 1, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Ideally, when someone close to you dies, the estate goes smoothly through probate and there are no issues. However, if you have concerns about the estate documents and their validity, you may feel the need to contest.

Contesting a will requires a formal objection before the court. SmartAsset explains that the burden lies on you to prove there is some validity issue with the document.

Reasons to contest

One of the main reasons you may contest a will is that you know there is a legal issue with it. Whether this is that it does not meet state requirements or there is some other glaring legal issue. You may contest on the grounds that you feel someone tricked or coerced the person into writing it.

You cannot contest a will simply because you do not like the contents. For example, if your grandmother left her home to your cousin but you wanted it, this is not a valid reason to contest. You must have solid legal grounds to do it.

Who can contest

You can only contest a will in a situation where you have something to gain or lose. You cannot do it if the results of contesting it would in no way impact you. For example, if your friend’s mom left him out of her will, you cannot contest it because you have nothing to gain from doing so and you lose nothing if the situation remains unchanged.

How to contest a will

To contest, you must formally address the court. You have to explain your case and the grounds for contesting. You also must provide proof that backs up your claims. The final decision about validity is up to the court.