Will Disputes FAQs—5 Things You Must Know Before Contesting a Will

A will is a vital legal document that outlines one’s wishes as to how his or her estate is distributed upon their death. It documents who the executor of will is and how he or she will administer the estate based on the beneficiaries listed accordingly. A will dispute on the other hand is when an individual questions the validity of a will. Will disputes are often the result of the event when one challenges a will or contests a will. These events may arise when there are certain individuals who are interested in assets that are part of the estate that they believe they have the right to. Before you consider contesting a will or challenging a will, there are some will dispute FAQs and answers you need to know about.

5 Will Dispute FAQs for Contesting a Will

What is the difference between challenging a will and contesting a will?

For those who are unfamiliar with estate law, the terms “challenging a will” and “contesting a will” are often interchanged. However, it is important to note that the two are different. This is one of the most common will dispute FAQs and beneficiaries and claimants must understand the differences between the two. Challenging a will is when a claimant challenges the validity of the will. This means that the claimant believes that the will is invalid for one of several reasons. Such reasons include, the will-maker or testator was not in a capacity to write a will during which it was signed, or if the testator was a victim of fraud, forgery, or under the undue influence of others while writing the will. A will is also often challenged when it was not signed during the time of the testator’s death. On the other hand, contesting a will means that the will’s validity is not questioned, rather the distribution of the estate is in question. The claimant is often a beneficiary who was unfairly left out of a will or one who believes he or she is not receiving his fair share of the estate. A person making a claim against a will must have legal standing before he or she challenges or contests a will with the help of an estate lawyer.

What is legal standing and how do I know if I am eligible for contesting a will?

Not everyone is eligible to contest a will or challenge a will. One of the most common will dispute FAQs is, how do I know if I am legible to contest or challenge a will? To contest or challenge a will, one must have legal standing to do so. This means that the person filing a claim must be “personally and financially affected by the will’s terms if it were to be accepted by the court as it is,” according to The Balance. In Australia, those who are have legal standing to contest a will are spouses, former spouses, de facto partners, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and those with close personal relationships with the testator at his time of death. If you happen to be unrelated to the testator but have a close personal relationship with him or her, you must provide supporting evidence to prove such a relationship. Estate lawyers will be of help in determining if you have valid claims to an estate.

How do I know if my claims are valid in a will dispute?

For you to successfully contest or challenge a will, your claims must be first and foremost, valid. So how do you ensure that your claims are indeed valid? An estate lawyer will help you determine this based on the grounds for contesting a will. There are several, including the lack of due execution. This means that the will must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. Another valid argument for contesting a will is the lack of testamentary capacity. This means that the testator did not have the capacity to write and sign a will during the time that it was indeed signed. This may be caused by medical conditions, if which is true, you must present supporting evidence such as medical records to prove so. Testamentary capacity can also mean that the testator was not aware of the contents of the will that he or she signed, which may be a result of fraud. Undue influence is another valid claim for a will to be contested.

Do will disputes have a time limit?

Yes. If you are looking to make a claim against an estate and are interested in contesting a will, you must do it within a certain time period. Different states may have different time limits. Thus it is important to consult estate lawyers on how to abide by these schedules and comply with the requirements when contesting a will.

Do I need an estate lawyer or inheritance lawyer when contesting a will?

The simple answer to one of the most common will dispute FAQs is yes, you need an estate lawyer or inheritance lawyer when contesting a will. If you are contesting a will or challenging a will, an estate lawyer is in the best position to provide you with support, guidance, and advice as you move through the legal processes. Estate lawyers will also help you meet deadlines, complete requirements, and arrive in a satisfactory result.

If you are interested in contesting a will or defending a will, consult with an estate lawyer today.

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