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What Can Make a Will Invalid?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyerA person’s last will and testament is a vitally important document. In it, an individual can record their wishes regarding guardianship of children and the distribution of assets and property. However, there are instances in which the directives set forth in a will are not carried out. If a judge determines that the person signing the will was not of sound mind or was illegally influenced, the court can disregard the will. In these cases, decisions about property and guardianship can become incredibly complicated.

The Person Signing the Will is Not of Sound Mind

Often, as a person ages, they experience changes in cognitive capacity and memory. A will must be written and signed by a person of “sound mind” in order to be considered valid. A person has “testamentary capacity” if he or she fully understands the instructions set out in the will and agrees to them. It can be extremely difficult to prove that the testator was not mentally capable of understanding the will that they signed. Often the strongest evidence of testamentary capacity comes from the people who witnessed the will maker signing the will.

The Will Is Incorrectly Signed

There are strict legal rules about the way a will must be signed in order to be considered valid. If these rules and procedures are not followed, the will could be thrown out. For example, if the testator cannot sign the will themselves, they are allowed to have someone sign on their behalf. If someone is signing on behalf of the testator, the testator must be witness to it. A will can also be considered invalid if it can be proven that the testator did not know or understand what he or she was signing. A will must always be signed in the presence of two or more witnesses. Not having witnesses could result in a will being deemed invalid.

The Testator was Tricked or Pressured

When a will is signed under duress, it has not considered to have been voluntarily signed. The term duress can include physical attacks or threats which a person makes against the testator. In probate, duress is a form of “undue influence” over the deceased, and it is taken very seriously. If evidence shows that the testator created or signed the will because they were coerced or forced, it will be considered invalid.

We Can Help

If you suspect that your loved one’s will was created under undue influence or is otherwise invalid, contact an experienced Lombard will contest attorney for the guidance you need. Schedule your confidential consultation at any of the three convenient locations of A. Traub & Associates by calling 630-426-0196 today.

 

Sources:

http://thelawdictionary.org/article/three-important-examples-undue-influence-estate-planning/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardkrooks/2011/05/10/how-to-prevent-a-will-contest/

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