Will Contests

When a person decides to use a will (the “testator”), on occasion, he or she will exclude certain family members or other individuals from receiving certain property after they’re gone.  Sometimes this is an intentional act and decision of the testator, but in some cases, the exclusion may have been wrongful, unintended, or the product of deceit by some unsavory character.

On occasion, a situation will arise where the will may have been drafted before the testator was married or had a certain child, easily explaining their exclusion.  Generally, this can be remedied through the application of certain statutes.  And, in some situations, the will may not have been properly drawn, signed, or witnessed, which makes it invalid.  These are both reasons why one wants to hire an attorney well versed in estate planning and will drafting to prepare his or her wills and other estate planning documents in accordance with the law and the testator’s desires.

Unfortunately, there are also situations in which the testator may have lacked the mental capability to make such decisions at the time the will was completed.  Generally, where a testator lacks such mental capacity a will is rendered invalid and the Court will apply the state’s general intestate succession laws.

Yet, in other instances, something vile may be afoot which may render the will invalid.  Someone with a close or advisory relationship to the testator may have used this position to influence the testator to dissuade the testator from giving property to another or provide more for them in the will, through what is known as “undue influence.”  Sometimes, another individual may have simply used force or fraud to get the testator to draft the will in such a way that they unfairly benefit from its terms.  Or, even worse, the will could be a forgery.  All of these circumstances may lead the court to rule that a will is invalid, which may subject the estate to the state’s general intestate succession laws, or simply result in the removal or exclusion of the specific portion of the will that was the product of such wrongdoing, allowing the remainder of the will’s provisions to be fulfilled as the testator had truly intended.

Our attorneys are well versed and practiced in the unfortunate circumstances of will contests.  They, along with our experienced staff, can help you investigate and find the proper remedy if you have been wrongfully excluded from your rightful share in your loved one’s estate.