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3 common reasons for a will contest

There is nothing simple about a will contest. This comes about when a beneficiary feels he or she has verifiable grounds for contesting a will in probate court.

In the event that a probate court agrees with the person, the will could be declared invalid. In other cases, particular aspects of the document could be cancelled.

There are three common reasons for a will contest, including:

-- Based on duress. This is when the beneficiary attempts to prove that the person was under duress when he or she created the will. Duress can include but is not limited to restraint, threats, or physical violence. For example, a person may threaten the testator in an attempt to have his or her entire estate left to them.

-- Based on undue influence. As the name suggests, the probate court must decide if the person created a will while under the influence of another person. There are times when a person will attempt to mentally control the testator into leaving their estate to him or her.

-- Due to lack of formalities. Every state has formalities in place that must be followed. If the will does not conform, the probate court will take this into consideration.

Nobody wants to go through a will contest, as this can drag on for many months or longer. Not to mention the fact that it can be costly. However, this is often times necessary if a beneficiary feels that the testator did not have the ability to make sound decisions under his or her own power.

Source: LegalZoom, "Contesting a Will as a Beneficiary," accessed April. 29, 2015

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