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Who can contest a will?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2019 | Probate Litigation |

In Illinois, not just anyone is able to challenge or contest a will. However, certain groups of people or individuals can, as long as they fit the right criteria. Though they have a timeframe in which to act, it is important for anyone dealing with wills to know about the possibility.

According to FindLaw, only “interested persons” are legally allowed to challenge a will. Furthermore, they are only allowed to challenge for valid legal reasons, which we will take a deeper look into next. Interested persons are defined as:

  • Heirs
  • Children
  • Devisees
  • Spouses
  • Creditors

Other people who don’t fall into these categories may still have a claim against the estate, or a right to the deceased person’s property. The people who do fall into these categories can further be divided into three main groups: beneficiaries of a prior will, beneficiaries of a subsequent will, and intestate heirs.

The person who is challenging the will is also required to have a “standing”. This means that you must have been named in the will, or you must be someone who would either inherit or lose under the will if it was deemed to be invalid. In essence, you need to prove that you either already are a beneficiary, or that you stand to gain or lose something – usually property or money – if the will in question did not exist.

Since proving this can be difficult and the process can be wrought with confusing legalities, having professional legal help could be invaluable help.