What is a Will Contest?
A will contest is a formal objection to a will which is filed with the probate court. Will contests typically occur when a beneficiary or intestate heir claims the will does not accurately reflect the intention of the decedent. Generally, only two classes of persons can contest a will. These are those named in the will and those that would inherit the decedent’s assets had the decedent died without a will.
Grounds for Contesting a Will
In order to contest a will, the person contesting the will must have an honest and good faith belief that the will does not accurately reflect the intention of the deceased. The grounds for contesting a will can include, but is not limited to, fraud, duress, undue influence and lack of capacity. The court will evaluate a totality of the circumstances and make a ruling based upon the court’s findings.
If you were named in a will or would inherit had the decedent died without a will, it is important that you speak with an experienced will contest attorney. The period in which you can file a will contest is limited.
Considerations of Contesting a Will
In certain circumstances it may not be in your best interest to contest a will. If the will contains a “no contest” provision and you are unsuccessful, you may forfeit all of your rights to take under the will. It is best to seek the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable and experienced will contest attorney who will review your issues and assist you in making the determination of whether or not to proceed with a formal objection to a will.
Our Firm’s Will Contests Practice
The will contest attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger have knowledgeable and practical experience in will contest matters. Our attorneys keep current on probate law and procedure. Our experienced will contest attorneys will address your concerns and evaluate the circumstances surrounding the issue to determine if contesting a will is in your best interest.
Call Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger when you need sound legal advice from an experienced estate planning attorney. To speak with an estate planning attorney about your particular circumstances, call our estate planning lawyers at (209) 522-2211 or contact us here.