When a loved one passes away, the will they leave behind outlines their intentions for distributing assets to the rest of the family. If someone believes that the will is unfair or that it falsely represents the intentions of the deceased, they might raise a challenge.
The American Bar Association explains that the probate process serves to confirm the validity of the will, appoint an executor and oversee the distribution of assets by a dedicated court. It is during this process that certain individuals have the right to contest the will, but it is important to understand the circumstances under which the court will recognize a challenge.
Is it possible to contest a will during probate?
Only parties with a vested interest in the will may contest the document during probate. This includes beneficiaries named in the will and individuals who can prove that they are wrongfully excluded from the will. Any attempt to raise a challenge without sufficient proof of connection to the deceased’s estate plan will go unrecognized.
When does the court consider a challenge to be valid?
To prove that the will is invalid, an individual contesting the document must prove a lack of testamentary capacity at the time of writing. There must be evidence of fraud, undue influence or an unfit mental capacity for the court to consider invalidating some or all of the will.
When a family member attempts to challenge the will during probate, it can give rise to serious disputes. You can seek legal help in the form of mediation if such a dispute puts a halt to the process of executing the will.