Contesting a will is what you do when you challenge the validity of a person’s last will and testament during probate. Probate is the official judiciary process of validating a will. This process involves asset and property distribution in accordance with the instructions stated in the will. If you seek to invalidate a will’s terms, be sure you have legal standing.
If you have reason to believe that a will does not represent a testator’s true intentions upon leaving a final will and testament, you may contest the will and render it invalid. Here are common grounds for contesting a will:
The chances of contesting a will and winning are slim. Research shows that only 0.5% to 3% of wills in the United States undergo contests, with most will contests ending up unsuccessful. You will need valid grounds to contest a will.
If you believe you have a solid stance to challenge a last will and testament, you still need to consult with a lawyer and discuss how realistic your chances are.
In some cases, a testator may include a no-contest clause in their final will. This is an optional clause some will writers may consist of to discourage contests to their will. In such cases, you may be disinherited should your contest end in failure, leaving you with nothing from the will.
Probate laws state that only particular parties may contest a will. These parties include the following:
If you intend to contest a will, you must file your challenge within two years from the date that authorities file the will into probate. When probate starts, the statute of limitations — the period you can contest a will — begins.
Ideally, probate hearings will take less than a year to complete. This assumes that all parties involved are on good terms and all properties or assets in place are not taxable. Any complications with taxes or assets to be distributed may extend the hearings for over a year.
If you lose a will contest, you risk disinheritance. If the will includes a no-contest clause, then the will you contest will give you no piece of the estate property that the original will states you were meant to receive.
Besides losing your claims, you lose the money you invested in preparing to contest a will. You need to assess your risks and expenses before proceeding with a will contest. Consider getting advice from a will contest lawyer.
Contesting a will is a challenge to a deceased’s final wishes. Courts assume that everything is in order unless interested parties claim otherwise. This process can be expensive and uncertain. You need clear grounds to assess whether you have a fighting chance to contest a will.
If you win, then you will get the assets you claimed. You will get the money you are owed and any real properties you are promised. To make sure you win the will contest, you need a skilled probate lawyer to assess your realistic chances.
Contact HML today for a free consultation. We will walk you through your options if you intend to contest a will.