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3 Questions to Ask Before Contesting a Will

Stachler Harmon Attorneys at Law March 17, 2017

Losing a loved one can be enormously upsetting. People often feel lost and grief-stricken, particularly if the death was sudden or unexpected. In these situations, loved ones can wind up at odds over what should happen to the person’s estate. This can happen even if there is a will in place, as there may be reason to question the accuracy and/or validity of the will.

This is why people often have questions about contesting a will, especially when they are surprised, disappointed, confused or upset by all or parts of a person’s will. However, before you decide to contest a will, there are few things you should think about.

  1. Is there a no-contest clause? These clauses discourage will contests by disinheriting any person who files a lawsuit challenging the will. Be sure you understand if this clause exists and is enforceable, as you could lose everything if you follow through with legal action.

  2. What grounds exist to contest the will? It is very serious to ask the courts to essentially override a decedent’s wishes, so there must be grounds to do so. Do you have another version of the will? Are there concerns over his or her mental capacity at the time he or she signed the will? Is there evidence of undue influence?

  3. Are you legally able to contest the will? There are a number of laws in place that limit who can contest a will and when such an action must be taken. If you are outside of these limits, you cannot contest the will.

Once you consider each of these things, you should have a better perspective on what, if any, legal action you wish to take.

Contesting a will is a complicated process, so it is wise to have the support and guidance of an attorney experienced in navigating the legal system and familiar with estate planning laws in Ohio. Working with an attorney can help you avoid costly missteps and protect you and your family.