HomeWillsCan a Will be contested in court?
Can a Will be contested in court?

Can a Will be contested in court?

Yes, a Will can be contested in court. When someone challenges the validity of a Will, they are essentially questioning whether the Will truly reflects the intentions of the deceased and whether it was executed properly under the law.

Several grounds can serve as the basis for contesting a Will:

  1. Lack of Testamentary Capacity: The challenger argues that the testator (the person who made the Will) lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature and extent of their property, who they were benefiting, and the legal effect of signing a Will.
  2. Undue Influence: This claim suggests that the testator was pressured or coerced into making the Will in a particular way, often benefitting the person exerting the influence.
  3. Fraud: If someone alleges that the Will was procured by fraud, they’re claiming that the testator was tricked into signing it. An example might be if the testator was misled about the content of the document they were signing.
  4. Forgery: In some cases, it’s alleged that the Will, or a part of it, was forged.
  5. Improper Execution: Most jurisdictions have specific formal requirements for executing a Will, such as the number of witnesses required. If these procedures weren’t followed correctly, the Will might be declared invalid.
  6. Existence of a Later Will: If a more recent Will is discovered, it could supersede and invalidate the earlier one, assuming it was executed properly.

It’s essential to note that merely being unhappy or disappointed with the inheritance (or lack thereof) is not a valid ground for contesting a Will. The challenger typically must have standing (a direct, tangible interest) and legitimate legal grounds to contest.

Given the complex nature of Will contests and the potential for significant legal costs, it’s often advisable to attempt mediation or another form of dispute resolution before going to court. If someone believes they have grounds to contest a Will, they should consult with an attorney experienced in probate litigation to understand the merits of their case and the potential consequences of a legal challenge.

At Dynasty we recommend creating a free Living Trust to avoid challenges and probate.

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It only takes a few minutes to create and can be updated easily any time with our Digital Workflow.

What is a Trust?

A Living Trust is a financial tool that lets you plan, organize, and protect your life. It’s a personal entity that allows you to add assets and plan out your inheritance. Eliminating legal battles, cost, and time spent by your loved ones. 

Think of it like a personal LLC that you put everything you own in. Except it doesn’t protect you from liability like an LLC does, it protects you from probate and conservatorship. 

Probate is the complicated court process (12-18 months) where a judge decides what happens to your assets after you die, become incapacitated, or are “deemed” incapable. Creating a living trust allows your assets to completely circumvent probate and immediately transfer to your loved ones. 

In addition to being able to name heirs (your beneficiaries), a Trust also allows you to assign someone to manage it (your successor trustee). Instead of going through probate, your Successor Trustee takes control of the Trust, handles your affairs, and distributes your assets according to your instructions. The person you select as Successor Trustee should be your most trusted person. Like a best friend or closest family member.

At Dynasty, we believe everyone should have a Living Trust. If you have children, assets, or plan to acquire assets in the future, you should create a Trust. That way when you buy your next home, open a bank or brokerage account, get startup shares, etc. – you can immediately title them in your trust.