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Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyersThere are many things to consider when you are creating your Last Will and Testament. One you may have not considered is what will happen if your will is contested. A will contest is a lawsuit that an individual files in order to invalidate a deceased person’s will. Someone might file a will contest because they don’t believe a family member’s or friend’s will accurately reflects their true final wishes. Any intestate heir or beneficiary named in the person’s will can file a will contest.

In previous blog posts, we have talked about challenging the will of a recently-deceased loved one using a will contest. Today, however, we will look at how you can help prevent your will from being challenged. There are a few things that can be done to protect your will. One of these is a provision included in the will known as a “no-contest clause.”

What Is a No-Contest Clause?

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Lombard estate planning lawyerIn the days and weeks after the death of a loved one, you are likely to remain focused on getting back to some semblance of normalcy in your life, especially if you were very close to the decedent. Just as things start to settle back down emotionally, new concerns can arise when your loved one’s will is presented for probate. When the provisions in the will are finally made known, you may be surprised to learn that your loved one has made some unexpected decisions. Such surprises may lead to you to think about filing a will contest, but there are some factors to consider before you do so.

Hurt Feelings Will Not Invalidate a Will

The first thing you need to remember is that, following a person’s death, there will almost always be someone who feels that they got ignored, left out, or the short end of the stick. They may have been led to expect a certain portion of the inheritance or a particular piece of property, only to find out later that such “promises” were never formalized in the will. If you feel slighted by your loved one’s decisions regarding his or her will, that is not sufficient grounds for challenging the document.

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Lombard estate planning lawyersChallenging the validity of someone’s will is not an easy undertaking, regardless of your reasons for opposing the document. Contesting a will is both time-consuming and expensive, and, in many cases, the effort to contest is more trouble than it is worth, especially in wake of the person's death. Additionally, not everyone is eligible to contest a will. In most cases, the person contesting must be listed as a beneficiary in the will in order to proceed with the objection.

Despite these considerations, however, there are certain instances where the desire to contest a will is understandable and within reason. In these cases, your best bet is to consult a competent estate planning attorney, who can help assist and guide you in the matter. You can begin the process by examining the following to determine whether or not you have legitimate grounds for contesting a will:

Can You Prove the Decedent Was Unduly Influenced?

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