Four Reasons To Contest A Will During Probate
A person's last will and testament is a document that is created to decide how their assets are distributed after they pass away. While you may assume that a will is final and cannot be disputed, know that isn't the case at all. There are a few situations where it may be worth challenging a will's validity.
The Person Lacked Mental Capacity
It's important to know that a will can only be valid if it is signed by a person that is mentally able to understand what they are signing. This includes understanding what property they are in possession of, who will be receiving it, and the consequences of signing the document. It is completely possible that a will was created for someone to sign even though they were incapable of understanding what the document even was.
How do you know a person lacks mental capacity? It's possible that you have an old version of the will that was created before someone lacked the mental capacity to sign a will. You are then presented with an updated will that is very different from the last one you saw, and it was created after something happened that left the person unable to understand the legal documents they were signing.
The Person Was Manipulated
Even if someone has the mental capacity to sign a will, it does not mean that they signed the document willingly. There are situations where a caretaker forces someone to sign a new will because they would otherwise not have a caretaker. This is often done when the caretaker wants the will to benefit themselves rather than other people. You can use your knowledge of the situation with the caretaker to challenge the will during probate.
The Will Is Fraudulent
You must also look at the will and determine if there is any evidence of fraud. This is often the case when someone creates a new will and forges the signatures on it or tricks someone into signing the will while making them think it is another document. Since the person creating the will must be able to understand what they are signing, fraud clearly is an example of a situation where the will would become invalid.
The Will Execution Wasn't Followed
There is a process that a will must go through to become valid. This includes having a witness sign the document to verify that the person signing it had the mental capacity to do so, they were not manipulated, and there was no fraud involved. If a will does not have a witness, then it should be challenged for not being valid.
Contact a probate lawyer for more information.