A natural question arises when the last wishes of a departed loved one vary from your expectations.

Can a will be contested? There are several elements that go into the court’s decision on whether or not to allow a petition for a will contest, and the answer is not “yes” or “no.”

If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, no worries. You’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading for our top four things you need to know about contesting a will.

1. Can a Will Be Contested: Who Has the Right?

There are a number of “interested parties” who may challenge the will, including the following groups.

In the will, the names of the beneficiaries have already been included. Whose part of the estate was drastically reduced in the most recent will, or who were listed as beneficiaries in a prior will?

The state’s intestacy rules would allow anybody not mentioned in the will to inherit property if a will was not in place. Typically, this includes a spouse, kid, or another family member who is close to the deceased.

2. Legal Grounds for Disputing a Will

Testators, the people to whom wills and testaments belong, must be of sound mind at the time they write them down. To have the testamentary ability, a testator must be of sound mind while drafting a will. As a result, he or she is well-versed in the legal implications of making a will and designating heirs.

When they wrote the will, they couldn’t have been influenced in any way or violated any laws. The testator was under the effects of alcohol or drugs.

The term “undue influence” refers to when a relative takes advantage of the testator by encouraging them to leave a bigger percentage of the inheritance. If a will is the product of compulsion, the court may dispute it.

Moreover, if there’s a more recent version of the will, or it’s incomplete. 

3. You Can Challenge a Will in Its Entirety

Yes, a whole will may be contested. It’s the only sensible option in many situations. A person’s whole estate plan should be worthless if, for example, they visited their estate planner and were unable to prepare and execute a will.

However, the court will not accept your testimony. Medical records and evidence from those who knew the testator (the person who wrote the will) are likely necessary to prove that he or she died of natural causes. And, you’ll need a good civil attorney on your side when you’re dealing with civil litigation.

4. Is It Possible to Challenge a Will Amendment?

Yes, a codicil, an addendum to a will, may be challenged in court. When a person amends a will, they do so by signing a codicil, a distinct legal document.

It’s conceivable that a deceased person made their will when they had the capacity and then made a codicil while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, altering the document’s dispositive provisions. The legitimacy of the underlying will need not be called into question if the codicil is challenged instead.

How to Contest a Will: Exploring Your Option

Contests of will and trust are becoming more common. With a well-thought-out estate plan in place, you and your loved ones will have more peace of mind.

But for now, we hope that we answered the question of “can a will be contested?” Next more for you will be checking out our legal section and reading about wills and trusts.