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Contesting a Will

Nashville will contestA Will Contest is a formal legal proceeding arising when someone objects to the Probate Court admitting a will to probate.  Admitting a will to probate is a formal process wherein the Probate Court Judge makes a determination that the will is valid, and then appoints a personal representative to carry out the directives set forth in the will. Filing a will contest in means that you dispute the validity of a will or that the the will does not reflect the actual intent of the the party who made the will.

Will Contest Issues:

A will contest action can arise when an heir asserts that the party who made the will in question was:

  • Lacking in the mental capacity to make a will
  • Was suffering under a disability prohibiting testamentary capacity
  • Was acting under the undue influence of another person — usually the beneficiary of the will being offered for probate
  • Was a victim of fraud

Basis for a Will Contest

  • Lack of mental capacity is the most common type of will contest. Under Tennessee law, the will writer must have at least the capacity to know and understand what his possessions are and how he wishes them distributed.
  • Insane delusion is a much less common claim of incapacity.  Insane delusion generally means the writer is suffering a false belief about his possible heirs that has no foundation in reality.
  • Undue influence involves a person — often the beneficiary of the will — who exerts either physical or mental threats against the will’s writer. It also could be a spouse or relative who uses his/her influence to convince the writer that others should be cut out of the will.
  • Fraud can be a difficult contention to prove. Those contesting the will will have to show that:
  • False representations were made to the will writer

While a will may, on its face, seem “unfair,” most courts have refused to invalidate a will on the sole basis that it is unfair on its face.  Also, some wills have an in terrem clause; these clauses say that if any of the beneficiaries contest the will, they will receive nothing under the will.  In terrem clauses have been upheld by Tennessee Courts.

The process of contesting a will is difficult in Tennessee. Turner Law Offices, P.C., can make both the process and the outcome better for you.  Turner Law Offices, P.C., has over twenty (20) years experience in probate law and will contest issues, and our attorneys can help you evaluate whether a will contest lawsuit could be successfully litigated.

Speak to one of our Probate Attorneys Today!

(615) 259-2660

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