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What Are the Downsides of Challenging a Will?

September 1, 2020

Filed under: Wills — Laura Pennington @ 12:52 pm

It might seem like an initial gut reaction to challenge a will that you don’t believe is in line with what a parent or other relative had told you prior to passing away. It is important to realize that there are circumstances in which you are legally eligible to challenge a will but this is not necessarily the same thing as knowing when it is appropriate to challenge a will. You could risk spending a lot of time and money for the result of being completely disinherited depending on the terms inside that will.

You may be eligible to challenge the will of a deceased person but the outcome of this case could be very uncertain. First of all, you must have a basis for the challenge.

You must show that there was something wrong about the conditions under which the will was made or something wrong with the will itself. For example, you might argue that the will doesn’t meet formal requirements, that the will maker created it under suspicious conditions or that the will maker didn’t have the legal capacity to create a will. You could argue undue influence, fraud or mistake, lack of capacity or a flaw in document requirements.

Challenges are handled in probate and each state has unique laws about the procedures for a will challenge and these can even vary from one county to another. If you challenge a will that contains a section known as a no contest clause, you could risk losing any inheritance that would have otherwise been available to you through the will.

Plenty of wills contain such a no contest clause which means that anyone who attempts to file a will challenge could be completely disinherited. Schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer if you are curious about adding a no-contest clause to your own will.

 

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