When you lose someone you love, it’s a difficult and trying time to get through. One of the saddest parts of such a loss is that individuals can suddenly become focused on personal gain when it comes to the issue of the will. Especially when the will was either written or amended when the person you have lost was potentially not of sound mind and body. This and other grounds to contesting a will can and do crop up.
In this situation, you need to know what the grounds are for contesting this document so that you can make sure that the wishes of your lost loved one are carried out as they would have wanted and not taken advantage of.
Understanding the reasons for contesting
When you look up how to contest a will, you will most likely be bombarded with legal jargon that can easily confuse you if you yourself are not from a professional legal background. In the face of this, it can feel like giving up is easier than trying to navigate the law around the leaving on wills, but you must press on in order to get justice for your loved one.
To help you out, this article has broken down what some of the grounds for contesting a will are in simple terms, as follows:
Testamentary capacity refers to when the individual in question made the will and whether or not they are the following.
- They understood they were making a will and the effect of that will.
- The person knows the value of their estate
- He/she understands the consequences of leaving someone out/including someone in their will.
This last point is especially important. For instance, say your loved one is a family member who would have wanted to leave money to support your family. Then, in their last days, they did not. They wouldn’t be of the sound mind to understand that you were relying on that support to get by.
Lack of valid execution
This refers to the legality of a will and its signing. A will requires the signatures/presence of at least two witnesses and the signature of the testator themselves. If you think this isn’t the case, then you have grounds to contest the legality of the will.
This is something that is potentially hard to contest on because it requires hard evidence. However, it is not impossible and does happen.
Undue influence is when the testator deals with coercion in some way, either through kindness or threat. In turn, this coercion leads to amendments to their will which they wouldn’t do without such influence. Chances of contesting a will, in this case, will depend on the evidence you have, and the circumstances of each individual situation.
Fraudulent or Forged wills
Fraudulent wills can occur in a number of circumstances. For example, say that someone writes the will on their behalf and subsequently wrote themselves into it. This would be a fraudulent activity. Alternatively, if someone spoke to the deceased as they wrote the will. In turn, they persuade them to leave someone out or write themselves in. That, too, would be a fraud and make the will invalid upon contestation.