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Reasons to Challenge a Loved One’s Will

Posted on in Estate Planning

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.

Appropriate Contests

There are, however, a number of situations in which you can file a challenge to your loved ones will. To be successful in such a challenge, you will need to show that:

  • The will was not legally executed: Every state maintains its own laws regarding the signing and execution of a will. In Illinois for example, a will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, neither of whom may be listed as a beneficiary;
  • Your loved one lacked the capacity to execute a will: If the decedent was lacking in mental faculties and unable to make sound decisions, any will he or she signed could be subject to legal challenges;
  • There was undue influence on your loved one: Did someone else coerce or pressure the person into making changes to the will? While proving undue influence is difficult, if another party manipulated your loved one into signing a will, it may be set aside; or
  • The will was signed through fraud: If your loved one signed a will prepared by another person, but believed it to be a different document—a power of attorney, for example—the will can be deemed to have been procured by fraud. Proving fraud is challenging and may rely on the testimony of the witnesses to the signing.

Contact an Attorney

Challenging a will can be time-consuming and expensive, both in terms of money and in the relationships you have with other loved ones of the deceased. Before you make any decisions, speak to an experienced Lombard estate administration attorney so that you fully understand the implications. Schedule a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today and get the help you need.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-the-grounds-for-contesting-a-will-3505208

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=5300000&SeqEnd=6800000


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