Have you been left out of a family member’s Last Will and Testament and you suspect foul play? If you feel a Will has not been properly created and you are affected by the outcome, then you may have grounds to contest the validity of that document.
There are four reasons a Last Will and Testament may not be valid. In order to contest a family member’s Will, you must believe one of these four bases to be true. The most common reason a Will is ruled invalid is that the Will was not properly signed according to state law. Perhaps the witnesses did not actually see the Testator sign or maybe the document was not being properly notarized.
You may also contest a Will if you believe that your family member was tricked and signed the document thinking it was something else. You or the witnesses will have to provide proof.
Do you believe your loved one was not of sound mind at the time the Will was signed? You may have grounds for a contest, but the witnesses and possibly a doctor will have to confirm your suspicions.
The final reason for you to contest a Will is if you believe another family member pressured the signer into placing certain provisions within the Will that would benefit that person. Again, proof must be provided.
Besides having the proper grounds to contest a Will, you must also have a special interest in the outcome of the estate. Were you named in a previous Will but you have now been excluded? If so, you have been affected by the creation of a new Will, and you have a right to contest that document if you believe it to be invalid.
Heirs at Law
State laws determine who heirs at law are. If you are an heir at law for an estate where you received nothing or you did not receive what you believe you should have, you have a right to contest. You must of course, provide a reason.
Even if you believe the Will of a loved one should be contested, if you are neither a disinherited beneficiary nor an heir at law, you cannot legally contest that Will.