Contesting a Will in Toledo – What You Need to Know
A contested will is a will that has someone questioning its validity. The legal team at Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC, assists our Toledo clients in understanding these terms and how to move through this sometimes complicated area of law. If you are facing the challenge of a contested will, our goal is to guide you through this process with a clear understanding of what you can expect.
Contesting a will requires proving that something was not done well during the original creation of the will, and therefore the will does not represent what the testator, or the person whose estate the will applies to, wanted. If someone can prove this, the will can be proven legally invalid. However, it can be challenging to show the courts that the person’s will is not a good representation of what they actually want.
What are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?
There are several reasons you can contest a will in Toledo. Some of the common reasons include the following:
- Incompetency of the testator: It can be contested if the testator was not mentally competent when the will was created or updated.
- Undue influence or coercion: If someone, like a caretaker or relative, pressures the testator to change their will, it can be contested. Proving coercion requires evidence often backed by witnesses.
- Forgery or fraud: If you can prove the will is a forgery or fraud, you can contest it.
- Unfair asset distribution: If it appears you have been mistakenly excluded from the will or the will was unfairly written to exclude you from assets you deserve, you can contest it.
- State laws: Toledo wills must follow Ohio state laws and can be contested if they do not.
- Unclear status: The document must be clear that it is a last will and testament of the testator, and if this is not clear, it is contestable.
If you feel this applies to your loved one’s will, you have the right to contest it. Talk to our legal team to get help gathering the proper evidence.
How Does One Prove Undue Influence or Lack of Capacity?
Proving that either your loved one was under undue influence or they were incapacitated in some way is not easy. First, you must work with a lawyer who knows the state’s laws. In general, you need to prove that the influencer destroyed the person’s ability to utilize their free will when making decisions, often through the threat of harm or abandonment. In the case of lack of capacity, you must be able to prove that a diminished mental state due to age or disease is at play. This may require the help of a psychologist or doctor to prove. We can help you with this process.
Can an Individual Contest a Will if They Are Not Named as a Beneficiary?
Only people named in the will can contest one in Toledo. The only exception is if someone would inherit under the law if the person had died without a will, such as a biological child.
How Does One Go About Filing a Will Contest?
To file a will contest in Toledo, you must file a civil lawsuit with the Probate Court. The lawsuit requires proper documentation and evidence, and working with an attorney who understands Ohio estate law is necessary.
Because of the challenges of contesting a will, the right legal team is an important part of the puzzle. We provide the right knowledge and tools to get through this process so you can confidently move forward.