When a loved one passes away, their will is expected to be a clear, legally-binding document outlining the distribution of their estate according to their wishes.  

However, there are instances when the validity of a will may be called into question. 

Whether concerns arise due to the circumstances of the will's creation, the mental capacity of the deceased at the time it was written, or possible undue influence or coercion, will contests can be emotionally taxing and legally complex. 

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law serves clients throughout Dayton, Ohio, and the surrounding counties in will contest matters. Our compassionate and skilled team is committed to upholding the integrity of your loved one's final wishes, ensuring the estate is distributed fairly and according to the law. 

Why Our Lawyers? 

In Ohio, contesting a will is a serious matter that necessitates a deep understanding of probate laws and a strategic litigation approach. That's where our will contest attorneys step in. With extensive experience in probate disputes, we are fully equipped to address these disputes.  

Our firm offers the following avenues of support in contesting a will:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: We begin by thoroughly evaluating the will in question, including its creation, execution, and the circumstances of your loved one's passing. This initial step is crucial for understanding the strength of your position and the best course of action. 

  • Dependable Guidance: Our attorneys provide counsel backed by experience through every step of the probate litigation process. We help you understand your rights, the legal grounds for contesting a will, and the likely outcomes, ensuring you're well-informed to make critical decisions. 

  • Personalized Strategies: Understanding that each will contest is unique, we develop personalized strategies tailored to the specifics of your case. Whether negotiating a settlement or representing you in court, our goal is to achieve a resolution that honors the true intentions of your loved one. 

  • Sensitive Advocacy: Recognizing the sensitive nature of will contests, we approach these cases with the utmost care and respect for family dynamics. Our attorneys work diligently to provide peace of mind during a challenging time, striving to resolve disputes as smoothly and swiftly as possible. 

  • Approachable Service: From the moment you walk through our door, you'll experience an environment of care and compassion. Our attorneys take the time to listen to your concerns, explain complex legal matters in accessible terms, and offer empathetic support throughout the process. 



Legally Valid Reasons to Challenge a Will 

Ohio law sets forth several legal grounds for contesting a will, including lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, improper execution, or the existence of a more recent will. A will may be contested on the basis that the decedent lacked the required mental capacity at the time the will was executed or was unduly influenced by someone to the extent that the will does not reflect their true intentions.  

A successful challenge on these grounds requires substantial evidence, often including medical records, expert testimony, and detailed accounts of the circumstances surrounding the will's creation and execution. 

Can Anyone Contest a Will? 

In the state of Ohio, not just anyone can contest a will. The law restricts this privilege to individuals who have a direct, financial interest in the will's outcome, known as "interested parties."  

These typically include heirs-at-law who would inherit under the state's intestacy laws if there were no will, beneficiaries named in the will itself, and in some cases, beneficiaries of a prior will who stand to lose out under the current will.  

How to Contest a Will 

Contesting a will in Ohio involves filing a complaint in the probate court that oversees the decedent's estate. This action must typically be taken within a specific time frame following the will's admission to probate, emphasizing the importance of acting promptly when concerns about a will's validity arise.  

What to Expect During the Will Contest Process 

The process of contesting a will can be lengthy and involves several stages. Initially, after filing a complaint with the probate court, the litigants can expect a period of "discovery," wherein both parties gather and exchange relevant information and evidence. This stage is critical as it lays the groundwork for the case by collecting documents, depositions, and expert testimonies. 

Following discovery, the matter may proceed to mediation, where a neutral third party attempts to facilitate a settlement between the disputing parties. Mediation serves as an opportunity to resolve the conflict outside of court, often saving time, emotional distress, and financial resources. 

Should mediation not result in a resolution, the case advances to trial. During the trial, each side presents its evidence, calls upon witnesses, and makes legal arguments before a judge (and sometimes a jury). It's a meticulous process that demands comprehensive preparation and a compelling presentation of the case. 

Throughout this process, the attorneys at StachlerHarmon aim to provide strategic legal representation, ensuring that our clients' interests are vigorously defended while also navigating the emotional sensitivities inherent in will contests. Our focus is on achieving a resolution that respects the decedent's true intentions and brings closure to our clients during a difficult period. 

Given the nuances of Ohio probate law and the complicated dynamics of will contests, individuals considering this route are strongly advised to seek legal assistance.  

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we work with estate and probate clients across Warren, Greene County, Clark County, Miamisburg, Butler County, and Preble County. Reach out to our Dayton law firm today to learn how we can help.  

Will Contest Attorneys Serving Dayton, Ohio

If you suspect the legitimacy of a will or face challenges from other beneficiaries, you don't have to navigate this journey alone. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you in contesting a will and safeguarding your rights as a beneficiary. Together, we can strive for a resolution that aligns with the wishes of your loved one.