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When To Contest A Will
Contested wills are decided in the courtrooms of this country every day. Have you been left some money?

Jasper L. Edwards


Have you ever been left money in a will? If you haven't, have you ever thought about contesting a will where you think you should have been left some money? Or maybe someone did remember you in their will, but not as generously as you thought they should have.

This situation occurs most often when one child among siblings devotes their entire adult life to caring for an elderly parent and finds, upon the parent's death that the estate has been left in equal shares to all the siblings, with no special compensation for the devotion the child showed to the parent during their lifetime.

Depending on the circumstances, contested wills, understandably, can cause hard feelings and be an expensive, emotionally wrenching experience.

Contesting A Will Because Of Incapacity

A person who makes a will must be 18 years of age or older and of "sound mind," a term that means the person knows what they have, what they are giving away, who their blood relatives are, and what they are doing with their property in the will. One valid reason to contest a will would be that the deceased did not meet these basic qualifications.

Contesting A Will Because Of A Technicality

A will is a formal document that must meet certain strict requirements. The requirements vary depending on where you live, but generally speaking a will must be in writing, the will must state that it is the intent of the person making the will, a will must be witnessed by two ore more individuals, and the witnesses must sign a special statement when they witness the will. Contested wills can result where one of these special legal requirements was not fulfilled.

Contesting A Will Because Of Undue Influence

This is the contested will that turns up in feature films and situation comedies. Someone close to the deceased, who ends up benefiting from the terms of the will, is accused of exercising undue influence over the deceased in the making of his or he will. Undue influence can be very hard to prove, as it requires that the person exercising undue influence over the deceased had control over the deceased almost to the point of taking over their free will and controlling their behavior. Furthermore, during this time the deceased must have been forced to make a new will or change their old will.

There are limited circumstances where undue influence is easier to prove. If the attorney who wrote the will is unrelated to the deceased, and the attorney benefits from the will to the detriment of blood relatives, judges are more likely to entertain a claim of undue influence.

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