Most wills go through the probate process with no issues. However, there may be a time when someone wants to contest the will.
A person cannot take legal action just because he or she does not like what the decedent put in the will. There are very specific reasons why a court will consider invalidating this document.
Reasons for challenging a will
According to FindLaw, there are generally five valid reasons for contesting a will. Each state has specific laws regarding how the testator must sign the will and how many witnesses must be present. If this does not happen properly, the judge may invalidate the will. Someone may also question the decedent’s mental state at the time of signing.
If there is suspicion that someone manipulated, coerced or pressured the testator to sign it, the judge will consider the evidence. If the individual signed the will thinking it was something different, a person may be able to contest the will based on fraud. Another valid reason to challenge a will is if there is a more recent signed will in existence.
How to contest a will
The only people who can challenge a will or trust are beneficiaries, devisees of the will and those who would stand to inherit if the decedent died without a will. The person who is questioning the will must provide evidence to the probate court. If there is enough evidence to proceed, the judge may ask the personal representative to provide evidence to support the validity of the will. After investigating and weighing the evidence, the judge will make a ruling.