Reasons to Contest a Will

Dealing with a loved one passing away is always a difficult time. It can become especially complicated when discovering that you were not included in their Will. This may come as a shock to you, especially if you were close to them or singularly excluded among your family. You do have the option to contest the Will, where you fight to be included among your loved ones’ estate in court. This option is not cheap or quick, but it is the only way to get a share of someone’s estate after they have passed away.

Not just anyone can contest a Will, however. They have to belong to a specific relation to the maker of the Will, and they have to have a just reason they are contesting it. To contest a Will, you have to have at least one of these apply to you:

  • You are already named in the Will (and want more or something specific.)
  • You were named in a previous version of the Will, but were taken out or greatly reduced from the most recent version being examined.
  • You were not named in the Will but you would legally be able to inherit their estate if the loved one had never made a Will. The requirements vary from state to state, but it generally applies to spouses and children.

If you belong in one of those categories, you might have legal grounds to contest the Will. However, you must also have a reasonable belief that the Will being examined is inaccurate. If you just had a falling out with a loved one and didn’t see them for twenty years, you might not be able to argue that you should have been included in the Will. It takes very specific concerns:

  • If you think your loved one was not mentally competent when they made the Will, and thus it should not be considered in court.
  • If you think your loved one was under undue influence from another who persuaded them to leave you out of the Will for their own gain.
  • If you think the Will is incomplete or not legally sound, such as it was made without witnesses or your loved one was tricked into signing it.
  • If you think there is a more recent version of the Will that is not being considered.

As you can see, contesting a Will in court requires a sure legal footing. If you have a legitimate connection to the loved one and a reason to believe the Will excluding you is not legally valid, then you might just have a chance of winning your argument. If you think your loved one was tricked into leaving you out of their Will, contact Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio today. We are here to help you navigate uncharted waters!

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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