After a loved one dies, the executor has to distribute the assets according to the instructions in the will. Once you learn the content of the will, you may sometimes question the validity of the document. If you want to contest the will, there are several guidelines you have to follow.
The writer of a will, or the testator, has to meet several requirements for the document to be valid. FindLaw says that the testator has to have testamentary capacity. Your loved one has to understand all the terms of the will, the extent of the estate and the identity of the beneficiaries. Additionally, the testator has to make the will intentionally. If your loved one did not write the will voluntarily or lacked testamentary capacity, you may have valid ground to challenge the document.
Who can challenge the will?
You typically have to meet specific criteria if you want to contest the will. According to Smart Asset, you usually have to be an interested party to the will. You may have a family relationship with the deceased or you may be a business partner. Additionally, you can challenge the will if you are a beneficiary, even if you have no blood relation to the deceased. Underage children usually cannot contest a will. However, you may challenge the document for them if you are a legal guardian or the executor.
How do you contest a will?
To challenge the will, you generally have to work with a probate court. You may need to file a petition and attend a hearing. At the hearing, you can provide evidence about why the will is not valid. The probate court usually listens to all the evidence and decides how to proceed.
Presenting evidence at a hearing does not guarantee that a probate court will reject the will. After hearing the evidence, the court may rule to uphold the document.