Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

When should you contest an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Probate Litigation

The passing of a loved one often brings emotional turmoil and complexity. During such a challenging time, discovering issues with the loved one’s estate plan can make matters even more difficult. However, under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to contest the estate plan to ensure fairness and legality.

There are several situations where you might find contesting an estate plan is appropriate.

Signs of undue influence or coercion

A key sign that you should contest an estate plan is if you suspect undue influence or coercion. This situation arises when a person uses their influence over the person making the estate plan to manipulate their decisions. If a new estate plan unexpectedly favors one person, especially a non-family member, and there is evidence that the person exerted substantial influence over the deceased, contesting the estate plan may be necessary.

Questions of testamentary capacity

Another reason to contest an estate plan is doubts about the deceased’s testamentary capacity when they created the plan. Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s mental ability to understand the consequences of their actions. If the deceased suffered from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other mental health issues, it may be appropriate to challenge the estate plan.

Issues with the execution of the estate plan

If the execution of the estate plan does not comply with Arkansas law, it is another sign that you might need to contest it. For instance, the law requires two witnesses to be present when the testator, the person making the estate plan, signs the will. If the will was not properly witnessed or if other legal formalities were not observed, contesting the will could be an option.

Deciding to contest an estate plan is a significant decision that you should not take lightly. It requires a strong reason and concrete evidence. It can potentially lead to family conflicts and legal challenges. However, if you see signs certain signs, it may be necessary to contest to ensure the estate plan truly reflects the deceased’s wishes and complies with Arkansas law.