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How Can I Contest a Will in Illinois?

 Posted on January 07, 2021 in Estate Planning Blog

DuPage County contested will attorneyIt can be traumatic when the loss of a loved one is coupled with shock and surprise over a will that transfers the estate’s assets in a way that appears inconsistent with the intentions of the deceased testator. If you are dealing with such a scenario in the wake of the loss of your parent, spouse, child, or another close relative, you may have the option to formally contest the validity of the will in question. In doing so, you should work closely with an experienced Illinois wills and trusts attorney.

 A Will Must Comply With Applicable State Laws to be Valid

Wills and trusts are serious business. As such, a will must comply with all formalities imposed by state law in order to be regarded as valid. For example, Illinois law requires that a will must be signed by the person whose estate it concerns, who is known as the “testator”. In addition, the testator’s signing of the will must occur in the presence and hearing of two valid witnesses. In most cases, in order to be a valid witness of a will, a person must not be a beneficiary of the will. If you have reason to believe that the will was not created in accordance with these requirements, you may have grounds to contest it.

The Drafting and Execution of a Will Must Be Free from Undue Influence and Fraud

In addition to signature and witness requirements imposed by Illinois state law, the drafting and signing of a will must be free from undue influence and fraud. Undue influence exists when a testator is subjected to extreme pressure or severe duress to the extent that free will is suppressed. When mental or physical capacity diminishes with age, a testator may be particularly vulnerable to undue influence exerted by individuals lacking scruples.

Testamentary Capacity is Necessary for a Will to Be Valid

Of equal importance to compliance with will formalities and the presence of true volition is testamentary capacity. Being of sound mind at the signing of the will is necessary for a will to be valid. A testator possessing capacity understands the nature and value of the contents of his or her estate, the individuals or institutions who will inherit the contents via the execution of the will, and the legal impact of the signing of the will. Evidence and witness testimony may be used to establish the lack of testamentary capacity. 

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer Today

If you have questions about contesting a will on the grounds of a lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, or non-compliance with applicable laws, a Lombard will contest attorney can help you find the answers. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today. We will work hard to protect your rights and your best interests, regardless of the challenges that lie ahead.



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