Share Your Experience

five star review
Lombard Office
Text Us Now

How Can You Challenge an Estate Planning Document?

 Posted on May 23, 2024 in Estate Planning

Wheaton, IL estate planning lawyerDealing with a dispute over an estate is the last thing anyone wants after the passing of a loved one. Unfortunately, there are sometimes occasions when it is necessary to challenge an estate planning document. If you are wondering whether you can challenge an estate planning document such as a will, there are specific grounds on which an estate planning document can be contested. An Illinois lawyer can help you explore these reasons and explain the steps involved in challenging an estate plan.

The Validity of the Document

One of the primary reasons to challenge an estate planning document is that there are concerns about its validity. In Illinois, a will must be signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by two individuals. If these requirements are not met, the will may be deemed invalid. The document can be challenged if there is evidence that the testator lacked the mental capacity to create the will or was under undue influence.

Undue Influence and Lack of Capacity

Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on the testator, causing them to create a will that does not reflect the person’s true wishes. This often happens when a person in a position of trust, such as a caregiver or family member, takes advantage of the testator’s vulnerability. If you suspect undue influence, gather evidence such as emails, texts, or witness statements that demonstrate the manipulation.

Lack of testamentary capacity means that the testator did not have the mental ability to understand the nature and extent of the assets. If you have concerns that your loved one did not understand what he or she was doing when the will was created, medical records, witness testimony, and expert opinions can be used to prove a lack of testamentary capacity.

Fraud and Forgery

If you believe that the estate planning document is a result of fraud or forgery, you can challenge its validity. Fraud occurs when someone deceives the testator into creating a will that does not reflect the testator’s actual intentions. On the other hand, forgery happens when someone creates a fake document or alters an existing one without the testator’s knowledge or consent. Handwriting experts and document examiners can be employed to detect signs of fraud or forgery.

The Process of Challenging an Estate Plan

To challenge an estate planning document in Illinois, you must file a petition with the probate court. This petition should outline the grounds for the challenge and provide supporting evidence. You must act quickly, as there are time limitations for contesting a will. In most cases, you must file a challenge six months from the date the will is admitted to probate.

Once the petition is filed, the court will review the evidence and hear arguments from both sides. The burden of proof lies with the person contesting the document. If the court finds valid grounds for the challenge, it may invalidate the entire document or specific provisions within it.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Estate Planning Lawyer

Challenging an estate planning document can be difficult and emotionally draining. You can benefit by seeking guidance from a Lombard, IL estate planning attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action. Having legal representation on your side can help you gather evidence, file the necessary paperwork, and represent your interests in court. Call A. Traub & Associates at 630-426-0196 for a private consultation.

Share this post:
Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Back to Top