Planning is always an integral part of life. Whether in the professional or personal aspect, there must always be some sort of plan to guide one through life. This is why it’s important to plan out an estate and have a will in place, to ensure that all assets would be properly distributed to a person’s loved ones once he or she is gone. The death of a loved one is always a difficult time and it’s even more difficult when there are estate disputes and will disputes to be dealt with. Therefore, it is always best to enlist the professional services of estate lawyers and inheritance lawyers to properly guide you through the process of writing a will, executing a will, and challenging or contesting a will, if need be. Dealing with estate disputes is no easy feat and people often have questions on the steps in challenging a will, contesting a will, and defending a will. For now, let’s focus on contesting a will FAQs that you may already have in mind. Here are the answers to some burning questions you have about contesting a will.
Answers to contesting a will FAQs that you must know
A will is a legal document that details a person’s or testator’s wishes as to how their estate, including all of their assets, should be distributed in the event that he or she passes away. Estate law deals with the regulations with regards to wills, trusts, probate, and other subjects involved in the management of one’s property. In the event that a person passes away, his or her will shall be executed by the appointed executor of will. He or she is named in the will or is appointed by the court to have full legal responsibility for the proper distribution of assets to its beneficiaries. But what if individuals who believe they should be beneficiaries are not named in the will and are interested in contesting it?
What does it mean when you are challenging a will or contesting a will?
Challenging a will and contesting a will are two different things, despite being similar. While these terms are often interchanged, it’s important for beneficiaries and claimants like yourself to understand the difference between the two. One of the most common contesting a will FAQs is this, what really is the difference between contesting and challenging a will? Contesting a will means that a beneficiary is in a “contest” against other beneficiaries because he or she believes that they were not properly provided for in the will. When a will is contested, there is no question about the will’s validity, just the way the estate is going to be divided between beneficiaries. A Family Provision Claim is then filed by the claimant when contesting a will. Conversely, challenging a will means that you believe that the will should be struck out entirely for one of the reasons discussed in the second of the contesting a will FAQs listed below.
What are the grounds for challenging a will or contesting a will?
Challenging a will means that you are questioning the validity of the will itself. This often occurs when the claimant believes that the will maker or testator did not have any capacity to write the will at the time it was signed, or if the testator was subjected to fraud, forgery, or was under undue influence of others. A will may also be challenged when it was left unsigned or if there were insufficient and inappropriate witnesses to the signing of the will. The development of a will is often done with the help of estate lawyers, who provide professional advice on how to best administer an estate.
Who is eligible to challenge or contest a will?
A will can only be contested by individuals who have standing. These eligible individuals often file a will contest because they are “personally and financially affected by the will’s terms if it were to be accepted by the court as it is,” as per The Balance. Such eligible individuals include disinherited heirs-at-law, who are individuals who may have been provided for even if the testator did not have a will. This happens through the process of “intestate succession,” when there is no will and direct relatives inherit the estate. Other individuals who can contest a will are beneficiaries who have been named in a previous will but were left out of the most recent will. Those who have also been named as an executor of will in a previous will but have been replaced with someone else are also eligible to challenge the new will. Those who believe they have legal standing to challenge or contest a will must consider consulting an inheritance lawyer to find out if they are eligible to do so.
How do you begin challenging or contesting a will?
This is one of the most common contesting a will FAQs out there. How does one begin the process of challenging a will or contesting a will? The first step is always to consult an estate lawyer, as they are in the best position to provide you with sound legal advice on your eligibility to pursue an estate dispute. These estate lawyers have years of experience dealing with cases like yours and are highly capable of assisting you reach the outcome you desire.
Do you need an estate lawyer to challenge or contest a will?
To put it shortly, yes. When challenging or contesting a will, it is best to consult with an estate lawyer to ensure that you are complying with regulations, schedules, and requirements in your estate dispute. Estate lawyers provide the much needed professional and emotional support during this trying time.
To answer more of your contesting a will FAQs, speak with an expert estate lawyer today.