When someone passes away and the probate process does not go as expected, it can be disappointing and discouraging. If you are unhappy with the distribution of an estate and something seems fishy, you may want to challenge the will.
However, you should only pursue a will contest if you have good reasons. Dissatisfaction with estate dispersal on its own is not enough to challenge a will, but it is a good place to start. Here are some legal grounds for disputing the validity of a will:
1. Fraud or forgery
It the contents of a will seem strange, it may be a sign it is fraudulent. One example of fraudulently procuring a will is when someone other than testator changes the will and forges the signature to make it appear valid. Fraud may also occur when someone provides the testator with false information and misleads him or her into signing the will. This is why having witnesses and a notary public at the signing of a will is so important.
2. Inadequate mental capacity
An individual must be of sound mind to create a will. Some conditions and situations that may affect mental capacity include:
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The testator must fully understand the value and extent of assets and who the beneficiaries are. If you can prove there was a lack of testamentary capacity, the will may be invalid.
3. Undue influence
When someone creates a will, he or she must do it on his own accord; there must be no coercion or manipulation. If someone pressures a testator to include provisions in the will, rush the process or forego obtaining legal counsel, then the entire document may be baseless.
If you believe any of these things apply to your situation or you feel suspicious about the will, you should consider contesting the will.