Sometimes, after a loved one dies and their will enters probate, a person receives an unwanted surprise. It may be that certain choice assets are left to someone they did not expect, or their inheritance is much lower than expected. In the worst case scenario they may be disinherited entirely. This can be very distressing, especially if it seems like the will was faulty in some way and should be contested. The following are some reasons to contest a will.
Lack of capacity
Sometimes a person lacks the capacity to execute a will. For example, if a person is mentally unable to understand the scope of their estate or who their natural heirs would be due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they may not have the capacity to execute a valid will. Some wills can be contested based on lack of capacity.
All states, including Ohio, have requirements for the execution of a valid will. For example, the signing of the will may need to be witnessed by a certain number of persons. An unsigned will may not be enforceable as well. Some wills can be contested based on improper execution.
Fraud and undue influence
Sometimes a will is fraudulent. For example, it may have been forged by someone else. Other times a will is executed under undue influence. For example, if a will was made only under the pressure of someone who would stand to inherit a great deal of the estate due to their influence over the decedent, the will might not be enforceable. Some wills can be contested based on fraud or undue influence.
A will contest is not as simple as simply stating that the will should not be followed. It is a legal process that many in Ohio are unfamiliar with. Before contesting a will, it is important to understand all your rights and options so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.