The validity of a will may be challenged by a lawsuit. Such a suit is known as a will contest. A will may be challenged for many reasons, including that the deceased was not of sufficiently sound mind at the time he or she executed the will to enable the deceased to know and to understand the distribution of property he or she was making, that its execution was procured through fraud or undue influence.
In order to determine whether or not a will is invalid because the deceased was not of sound mind, a jury may consider such factors as physical weakness, disease, old age, and failing mind or memory. In undue influence cases, a key concept is whether a confidential relationship existed between the deceased and the beneficiary that procured the will. If a person is determined to have had a confidential relationship with the deceased, that person must prove the fairness of a transaction between that person and the deceased by the highest standard of proof.
It is not uncommon for a caretaker or relative with undue influence to have taken control of the assets of another before he or she dies. One may also challenge these transfers under several theories including fraud and breach of one’s fiduciary duty.
The validity of a will may also be contested on its face. For example, an attested will requires the signature of two witnesses, all of whom must actually witness the deceased sign the will. If no witnesses were present, the will may be invalid. There are also wills that are different from attested wills. Such wills are known as holographic wills. These are wills that are in the deceased’s own handwriting. One may contest a holographic will by contesting that it actually is in the asserted person’s handwriting. Accordingly, the formalities of a proper will are very important.Do You Need will Contest Lawyers? Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
With more than 75 years of combined experience and more than $45 million recovered for our clients, The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are serious will contest lawyers who know how to win. We represent heirs, beneficiaries, executors, administrators and third parties in disputes over the terms or validity of wills, the application of the rules of distribution by operation of law (known as “intestate succession”) to particular situations, and the best ways to handle disputed details of estate administration. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call (865) 691-2777 or use our convenient contact form.