Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

3 reasons to contest a will

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2023 | Estate Administration, Probate

A will is a legal document outlining the distribution of a person’s assets and property after their death.

In some cases, family members or other interested parties may have reasons to challenge the validity of a will. Here are some common reasons to consider contesting a will.

1. Undue influence or coercion

Undue influence occurs when a person exerts significant pressure or manipulation on the testator, causing them to create a will that does not reflect their true wishes. This can include threats, emotional blackmail or isolation from friends and family. If there is evidence to suggest that a beneficiary has unfairly influenced the testator in the creation of the will, it may be grounds for contesting the document.

2. Improper execution of the will

For a will to be valid, it must meet specific legal requirements. These may vary by jurisdiction, but they typically include the presence of witnesses during the signing and the use of appropriate language in the document. If the will does not adhere to these requirements, it may be open to challenges based on improper execution.

3. Fraud or forgery

In some cases, loved ones may contest a will on the grounds of fraud or forgery. This occurs when someone intentionally deceives the testator, leading them to create a will that benefits the perpetrator. Alternatively, a will could be entirely forged, with the perpetrator creating a fake document to inherit the deceased’s assets. In these cases, evidence of fraud or forgery can lead to a successful challenge.

Challenging a will is a serious undertaking, and the reasons for contesting a will must be valid and supported by evidence. Understanding the various grounds for challenging a will can help you determine whether pursuing a claim is in your best interest and protect your rights as a potential beneficiary.