The different steps which have to be taken when contesting a will consist of:
- Closely inspecting the will itself
- The examination of local estate and probate laws
- Hiring a legal professional
- Filing a dispute,
- Gathering any evidence
The process of will contesting can turn into a lengthy, complex, and possiblyexpensive one if not expertly managed. Some of the steps can be undertaken without the help of a lawyer whilst other steps will definitely need the guidance of a seasoned legal professional.
- At first, people who are going through this process should exam the documents closely. If they are beneficiaries, or might be named as a beneficiary in the event that the will is overturned, the people contesting the will can by law file will disputes.
- A number of wills include a “no contest clause,” which means that anyone who disputes it,runs the chance of being disinherited. Although in some cases, there are some jurisdictions which will overlook this clause should there be enough evidence showing that the will is indeed bogus.
A Steady Process
The next step involves gathering knowledge about local estate and probate laws. Different laws on contesting a will and in what time frame it can be legally filed, must be looked into, and especially the ones on the reasons why
someone would want to renounce a will. These may involve undue duress applied to the testator, the testator’s state of mind, or a mistaken execution of the will itself, such as an unsigned document or a document completed without authorisation from witnesses.
It is right here, that the vast majority of folk who are contesting a will, hire an experienced legal professional. The lawyer will expertly help in determining the legitimacy of the disagreement, and assist in guiding the contester through the proper legal channels.
Filing a dispute will require a court hearing, and a lawyerwho will ensure thatall of the appropriate legal material is addressed. The lawyer also helps to:
- Present relevant evidence
- Question thewitnesses
- Present a legally sound case for the overturning of the will
The lawyer then draws up the primary dispute on behalf of those contesting the will. The dispute will then be filed in the court system and a hearing date will then be set. During this waiting for the hearing, contesters can continue gathering evidence to help support the filing.Such evidence caninclude documents such as:
- Previous wills
- Financial records
- Medical documentation relatingto the testator’s mental state
Video or audio recordings and witness testimony can also be used as evidence.
After the hearing hasconcluded, those whom are contesting a will have two choices.
- They may wish totryand settle the case outside of the court
- They can go ahead with a trial, which maytake an emotional and financial toll, but the financial outcomemight make it worthwhile
In your best interests consult with legal professionals and make sure you take the best route.