Unfortunately, death is an unchanging fact of life: it is uncomfortable and devastating to the family and friends of the deceased, but it happens. That devastation is multiplied if the deceased passes away without a last will and testament. That could cause fighting, unfair treatment, and strained relationships. It’s also possible that friends and family who need help the most will be unable to get it because of the law. That’s why so many people write wills that specifically express how they would like their assets to be distributed after their deaths. However, those aren’t always without controversy. In some cases, the person who wrote the will might have done so in a way that draws questions as to its validity. This is especially true in the case of the elderly or mentally handicapped, but it is a problem that can be addressed. You have the right to contest the validity of a will in certain circumstances.
You need a skilled attorney to help you. There are many aspects to will contests that can be confusing, complicated, and intricate. The process often leads to serious amounts of stress between family and friends. Before you call a lawyer, you should look into the legal grounds for contesting a will. Here are some of them.
The mental capacity of the deceased is one of the most common questions that arises when someone contests a will. It is also one of the most common grounds for contest. In a nutshell, the argument is that the decedent did not possess the mental capacity to fully understand what he or she was signing when signing the will. That is typically applied to anyone who is mentally handicapped as well as the elderly. If someone has Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any of the host of other cognitive disorders that stem from advanced age, he or she might not be fit to sign a legal document. That is why a will is written by an attorney and signed in front of an attorney. However, there are some cases where friends and family could effectively argue that the attorney simply didn’t realise the person was infirm or was negligent. Whatever the case may be, you can file a legitimate contest if you honestly believe the deceased was not mentally capable of entering into a legally binding contract.
Wills can also be contested if they are “grossly unfair.” The definition of grossly unfair differs somewhat depending on which judge you appear before; however, the basic definition is that someone who would normally be a beneficiary of a will has been cut out. That would typically mean a spouse or a child being left out of a will. That could be construed as grossly unfair. Often, claims of unfairness are lumped together with mental capacity claims. An attorney might make the case that the deceased was mentally impaired and thus simply forgot to include a certain person or that the deceased was being deliberately manipulated.
There are a few other grounds for challenging a will. The important thing is that you hire an attorney who specialises in challenging wills.