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The many reasons for a will contest

When a person creates an estate plan, they do so with many goals in mind. One of which is to ensure their property ends up with the right people after they pass on.

Unfortunately, there are times when a will contest comes to the forefront. It may be difficult to challenge a will, but there are times when this is done nonetheless. Generally speaking, spouses are the ones who have the most success when challenging a will.

Here are some of the grounds on which a will is often challenged:

  • Testamentary capacity. The law states that only adults age 18 and older have the capacity to create a legal will. According to FindLaw, there are times when a will contest is the result of an adult's testamentary capacity. "When litigation arises that challenges an adult's testamentary capacity, it is usually on the basis that the adult has senility, dementia, insanity, was under the influence of a substance, or in some other way lacked the mental capacity to form a will."

  • Fraud or forgery. This allows a person to challenge a will if they can prove that it was created by fraud or forgery.

  • A newer will exists. Some people create more than one will during their lifetime, with the most recent one trumping the rest. If the executor is attempting to carry out the details of an outdated will, this can be challenged.

There are other reasons for a will contest, but these are the most common. It doesn't matter if you are creating a will or worried about what will happen when a loved one passes away, it is essential to have knowledge of the law as it pertains to wills and other estate planning documents.

Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," accessed March 3, 2015

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