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Knowing when and how to contest a will in probate

Thinking about contesting a will during probate is a fairly common part of the process for many. Of course, the standing of the objecting party will have a lot of bearing on the matter with children of the decadent ranking much higher than a distant cousin once promised something. 

Why contest a will

Common reasons for objecting to a will include the following:

  • Undue influence upon the decadent
  • The testamentary capacity of the decadent
  • The appearance of fraud or alteration in the drafting of the will
  • The mechanics of the document’s execution

It should be added that probate is never known for moving quickly, but it is still important to file objections in a timely fashion before deadlines pass. Many agree that the bigger challenge is the burden of proof involving such accusations as the testamentary or mental capacity of the decadent at the time of the will’s signing.

Weighing the cost

Contesting a will often pits immediate family members against each other. Along with the incredible emotion toll that is involved in fighting over the estate of a deceased loved one, there is also the expense of litigation that can drag on and drain the value of the estate itself.

It is often recommended to settle disputes to avoid ill will and expense. Withdrawing claims can make the most sense even if the process of contesting the will has begun. Often this will happen after the objecting parties realize how little money there really is when probate process is complete. Contesting disinheritance still may be necessary in some cases, so it is important to discuss a dispute with an attorney with experience handling probate.

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