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Things to know if considering a will contest

When a person creates a will, they often name a personal representative who is responsible for managing the person’s affairs after his or her death, such as paying final bills and filing taxes.

The will also names beneficiaries who may receive property or money that is distributed from the estate. Sometimes, there are situations that arise where one of the beneficiaries, or another person, wants to contest the will.

Contesting a will

It can sometimes present a challenge to contest a will because the will is often presumed to reflect the deceased person’s wishes. However, there are some valid reasons to dispute a will.

Adults who are 18 years of age or older have the capacity to create a will, also known as testamentary capacity. Challenges based on testamentary capacity are usually based on an assertion that the adult has dementia, insanity, was under the influence of a substance or for some other reason did not have the mental ability to form a will or understand its consequences.

The will may also be challenged if it was created by fraud, forgery or undue influence. Undue influence means that the person was manipulated into leaving the property to the person who took advantage of him or her.

If the will was improperly executed, that may also be a reason to contest a will. This might include missing signatures or missing witness acknowledgments. There may also be a challenge if there is a newer will in place that takes precedence over an older, outdated will.

An experienced attorney can help answer questions about the probate process and can provide representation to contest a will.