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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?

What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?

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A will contest is when somebody raises a formal objection against the validity of a will in a claim that it does not accurately reflect the wishes of the testator, or, the person/party who made the will. Usually, the people who would contest the validity of a will would either be someone who is named on the will (a beneficiary), or someone who would inherit property from the testator if the will was declared invalid. Courts will not look to “fairness” when determining if a will should be contested, but instead needs a grounded reason to overturn the legal rights of the deceased and how they wish to dispose of their property.

Most Common Grounds for Contesting a Will

   1.        Not Signed in Accordance to State Law

A will can be challenged and declared invalid if it wasn’t signed in accordance to its state’s applicable laws.  For example, in Tennessee, in order for a will to be official, it must be signed in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign the will.  This means that, if the witnesses were not present during the signing, or if one of them did not sign the will, it can be contested.

   2.        Mentally Incapacitated

The testator must have a sound mind when creating his or her will.  Having a mental illness or disease does not instantly discredit them from creating a will, but they must show competency in understanding the nature and extent of their assets and their family.  They must also be able to realistically show that they are not under the effects of having insane delusions when creating the will.

   3.        The Will was Signed Under Duress

This one is your typical movie scene where the person has a gun to their head when creating the will.  If there is any proof that the testator was threatened or in any way coerced to create the will, its validity can be contested.

   4.        Fraud

If the testator was tricked into signing the will in any way, then it can be contested.  Because it isn’t possible to question the testator about what they thought they were signing, the state usually asks the witnesses about what they thought the testator was signing.  If something seems off in their testimonies, then the will may be declared invalid.

Although proving that a will is invalid might be a difficult process, if you feel that something is legitimately wrong with a loved one’s will, you should take the steps required to ensure the situation gets fixed. Our probate attorneys are experts in probate law, and a quick consultation with them will better help you understand your likelihood of having a will contested and invalidated.

Call us today and see how we can help you.

Call 615-259-2660

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