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When Should I Contest a Loved One’s Will?

 Posted on September 24, 2020 in Estate Planning Blog

DuPage County estate planning lawyer

You do not have to be materialistic to become sentimental about a loved one’s possessions or to feel slighted by the contents of his or her will or estate plan. In fact, even the most down-to-earth people may feel a sense of injustice when a will or trust appears to have been altered, coerced, or otherwise manipulated. The good news is that if you have the right information and the right resources, you may be able to contest the will and put things right again.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

While any “interested party” may contest a will (siblings, children, spouses, etc.), the contesting party must have valid grounds for doing so. In other words, you cannot simply challenge a will because you feel like it was unfair, insulting, or mean-spirited. You can, however, contest a will if you believe one of the following is true:

  • The will was not executed in accordance with all applicable laws.

  • The creator of the will lacked testamentary capacity at the time of the will’s signing.

  • Another party exercised undue influence (i.e. threats to withhold care, blackmailing, etc.) during the creation of the will.

  • The creator of the will was defrauded. This could include being tricked into signing the will believing that the document was something else.

Be aware that some forms of fraud or undue influence may be extremely difficult to prove with only circumstantial evidence to support your case. Moreover, it is important to know that an older, established will is often difficult to contest. Issues with newer wills or wills that were altered shortly before the person’s death are usually easier to prove.

What Steps Should You Take?

If you have examined the grounds for contesting a will and believe that your claim is valid, it is critical that you notify the probate court in writing immediately. In most cases, you only have a limited amount of time to file your will contest. After that, you should contact a skilled probate litigation attorney for assistance and guidance. Your attorney will probably ask for any and all relevant information you can find, including bank statements, previous copies of the will, and any other evidence that might be useful, such as statements from the attorney who helped to write the will and the individuals who witnessed the will’s signing.

A DuPage County Estate Administration Lawyer Can Help

For more information about contesting a questionable will, or to get help with your specific case, contact an experienced Lombard, IL will contests attorney. At A. Traub & Associates, we have helped many clients protect their rights during contested probate proceedings, and we are ready to do the same for you. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation today.



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