A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about an estate that was challenged due to some irregularities with the will. Along with that post, we have talked extensively in the weeks since about wills and how they impact your estate, let alone the possible legal ramifications of a will should your heirs or beneficiaries challenge it. Which leads us to our question for today: on what grounds can someone challenge a will?
It’s actually not as simple as it may seem. The first thing to realize is that most judges are unwilling to overturn the last wishes in a will and testament of a deceased person. However, if there is legitimate grounds for the will to be reviewed and possibly revised or struck down, then a challenge could work. In order to challenge the will, though, someone must have “standing.”
“Standing” is when you are mentioned in the will or could benefit from the will if it were revised or deemed invalid in some way. Many family members or heirs could be locked out of a will under nefarious circumstances, so let’s talk about some of the reasons why a will may be revised or made invalid.
Testamentary capacity is a huge factor. If the grantor had dementia or was senile, then he or she may not have been able to appropriately value assets or determine which heirs deserved which assets. The grantor could have also been unduly influenced by another due to his or her senility or dementia.
In addition, there could have been fraud or forgery involved in a will, or another will may exist that makes the one being argued or acted upon invalid. These are just a few of many reasons why a will may be challenged.
Source: FindLaw, “Reasons to Challenge a Will,” Accessed June 16, 2016