Stachler Harmon Attorneys at Law
3 Common Reasons to Dispute a Will
Adults need to create a will early on in life and then regularly update it as the years go on. However, many people fail to even complete that first step. A Gallup poll suggests only 44 percent of Americans have any kind of will.
Upon a person’s death, there is a submission of the will to a court so that family members can more easily divide the deceased’s assets. Many times, no complications arise with this process, but there have been instances when living parties want to contest a will. There are certain grounds where this is acceptable.
1. A Newer Will Exists
When a person updates a will, he or she should make sure to eliminate previous versions. However, that does not always happen. If a relative knows for a fact another, more recent will is out there, then the court will likely throw out the older will. Most courts tend to follow the guidelines of the newer will, which is why these documents require date of signature.
2. Evidence of Undue Influence, Forgery or Fraud
Forgery and fraud are fairly straightforward, but there have been cases where undue influence resulted in an altered will. This occurs when a person manipulates the proprietor of the will to get him or her to alter it. Attorneys can determine undue influence by seeing if the person made the will when he or she was weak and frail or if the will contains information that is out of the ordinary.
3. Lack of Testamentary Capacity
When a person signs a will, he or she should understand the value of owned property and how to divide it within the legal document. However, due to senility or other neurological problems that typically arise later on in life, some people become confused and update a will, not understanding the full consequences of doing so. The person may not understand the value of property he or she owns or who the beneficiaries should rightly be.