Losing a loved one can result in strong emotions, especially if family members do not get along or if there is a very sentimental attachment to certain items of the deceased’s property. If a loved one in Rochester left a will, this can help sort out inheritance issues. However, is there anything that can be done if you think that the terms of the will should not be followed?
One reason a will might be challenged is if the person creating the will, known as the “testator,” didn’t have the capacity to do so. That means the person must have an understanding of the extent and value of their assets and who will inherit them. Therefore, they cannot be senile, insane, drunk or in some other way without the mental ability to draft a will.
Another reason that a will might be challenged is if the will was created through fraud or undue influence. For example, if a person was coerced to create the will or if the person was in a vulnerable position and was manipulated into creating a will, then the will might be voided.
A will might also be challenged is if another will exists that trumps the one at issue. In general, if a valid will exists that has a more recent date than another one, the newer will is the one that will be followed. However, states have certain requirements with regards to destroying an outdated will, so it is important to have the right information to determine which will should be followed.
In addition, states have requirements regarding how many people must witness the execution of the will and what their relationship to the testator may be. State law also dictates what provisions a valid will must contain. If these legal requirements are not met, then the will may be challenged.
In the end, it is important to understand how state law affects the validity of a will. While challenging a will is not easy, it can be done. Those who are concerned about the provisions and execution of a loved one’s will and want to know if estate litigation is an option may want to get more information to determine what actions to take.
Source: FindLaw, “Reasons to Challenge a Will,” accessed Feb. 14, 2017