When a person dies, they often leave behind a will that details how they want their assets distributed. This document is a legal document that lists the names and organizations that will receive certain assets. Most of the time, this document is a valuable piece of information for a family that doesn’t lead to any surprises. But for some, a will may not turn out the way a person is expecting, and a will contest may become inevitable.
If a person believes that a will is not accurate, they may be able to contest the will. But it is important to note that not everyone has the right to contest a will. A will can be contested by only “interested persons”. These are children, heirs, spouses, creditors or anyone having a property right or claim against the deceased. A person needs to have standing in order to contest a will. This means the person is named in the will or is someone who would inherit if the will was deemed invalid. This typically means that a person is named in the will, or should have been named or that they would have received something of value if a person would have died without a will.
Beneficiaries have the right to challenge a will and they are named in the will. They can be children, spouses, grandchildren, charitable organizations, among others. Heirs can also challenge a will. These are people who would have received a share of the estate if the deceased would have died without a will due to the laws of intestate. Heirs often challenge a will when they were left out of the will or they didn’t receive their fair share.
If a person believes they have a valid reason to challenge a will they may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in probate. An attorney can help their client understand probate law and help their client contest a will and work through the challenges that can arise. These can be emotional times for a family so making sure a will contest is valid can be important.