There exists several grounds to mount a legal challenge to a decedent’s will or trust. The grounds commonly are lack of execution, fraud, undue influence and competency. A will or trust must be executed as required by law. Fraud involves deception practiced upon the maker of the will or trust. Undue influence exists when influence is exerted upon the will or trust maker that overpowers their own will. Someone who is trusted or in a confidential relationship with the maker is usually the culprit. An easy way to judge the maker’s soundness of mind is to determine if the maker remembers and knows who are their family members. Do they know what they own. Do they know how it is held and invested, at least in a general way. Do they understand who benefits from the provisions in their will or trust and who does not.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as you believe that you may want to contest a will or trust. Important rights can be waived by failing to timely file a contest.
An important issue that must be looked into is if the will or trust that is to be challenged contains a no contest clause. If you file a contest and lose, these clauses generally disinherit the contestant. Only an experienced attorney can advise you if you should mount a challenge. On other hand, if you wish to disinherit an heir, you need expert legal advise on how to set up a no contest clause in your will or trust.
Brent D. Coldiron is an experience will and trust attorney. He engages in will and trust litigation. He is experienced in will and trust contests. He knows when to prosecute a contest. He knows how to disinherit an heir.