One of the primary goals that people have when they draft a will and overall estate plan is to provide clarity for loved ones. A will typically takes care of a number of tasks, including appointing an executor or personal representative, directing the distribution of assets and appointing guardians for any minor children, for example. But, what happens when someone questions the validity of the will? If it becomes a legal matter, it is known as a “will contest.”
The validity of a will
There are several reasons why the validity of a will might be contested. “Undue influence” is one reason in which a person asserts that someone was in a position to coerce or persuade the person who made the will in such a way that the document itself and its stated terms become illegitimate. This type of challenge might arise if someone who was expecting to inherit from a will suddenly finds out that the will in question was changed to benefit another person.
Another reason to challenge the validity of a will is if the mental capacity of the maker of the will is an issue. A so-called “lack of mental capacity” could leave a person in such a state that, legally, that person could not state the terms of a will or sign the document to make it effective.
If you are considering a will contest—or you are the one defending against such a claim—you’ll need to be sure you know all of your legal options. At our law firm, we work to put our clients in the best possible position with will contest claims. For more information, please visit the will contest overview section of our law firm’s website.