The passing of a loved one can be a traumatic time for a family—even more so, when there are discrepancies over the deceased’s Last Will and Testament. The reasons for why a family member would question the legitimacy of a person’s will may stem from (1) verbal agreements made by the testator that are not included in the written will or (2) the testator created his or her own will without having an probate lawyer review the documentation to ensure it aligned with state requirements, such as having witnesses at the signing of the will. Another reason to file a will contest would be because you strongly suspect that the testator was under the influence of the will’s primary beneficiary, or he or she did not have the capacity to execute the will. When this happens, your only option may be to file a will contest.
A will contest is when a person or organization objects against the authenticity of an individual’s Last Will and Testament. To do this, however, you first need to meet a particular set of requirements; otherwise, your case will not hold up in court. To file a will contest you must:
Have Standing in the Case: This means you will be directly affected (whether financially, individually, or both) by the current conditions of the Last Will and Testament.
Have Sufficient Grounds to File: As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons for why an individual would choose to contest a will, including the testator’s metal capacity or disagreements on whether the signing of the will was legal. In addition, you may be able to file a lawsuit on the grounds of fraud, if you can prove that the testator did not have the mental stamina to draft a will and that another family member or entity may have heavily influenced the testator’s decisions.
Have Time to File the Lawsuit: Each state will provide its own time requirement on how long an individual has to contest a will. As these types of lawsuits can be emotionally tiring and difficult, especially when other family members are involved, it’s important to consult with an experienced probate attorney to help you file for will contest before your state’s deadline and ensure all other required paperwork is submitted in a timely fashion.
Though will contests make up a small percentage of lawsuits in the United States, it’s essential that you understand your rights in the event that a loved one’s will does not reflect his or her actual intent and the outcome could negatively impact your family.
To learn more about wills and probate law, contact the experienced probate lawyers at KTF Law Firm. We take the time to listen to your concerns and will help you take the necessary action steps to ensure you and your family are protected and receive the best representation to win your case. If you have questions about will contests and whether you have the grounds to file, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation at our Minnesota law firm today!