Probate is a process that verifies the will where a person mentions who shall take over his belongings after his death. It is very important to make a will, as it helps future generations to know about you and your wishes.
Once a person passes away, their possession should be taken for the probate process. However, in order to do that, the person must have a will ready. There are several reasons why people can challenge a will. Therefore, make sure that the will has a viable and water tight beneficiary.
What Is Contesting A Will?
Before contesting a will, you should know what it is. In simple terms, it implies that you do not like the validity and terms of the will. Either you can contest the whole will or the portions that you do not like. Any person who is interested in the will can contest it, regardless of whether the will has your name or not.
A person below 18 years of age can’t contest a will. But they can appoint a guardian or executor to do that in their place.
Reasons for Contesting A Will
During probate, a lot of factors lead to the contesting of the will.
- If someone says that the willmaker was mentally disturbed or was under the influence
- the will is fraud and the preparation is improper.
- A will that has no witnesses can be openly challenged by anyone who might benefit from the property.
Probate – How To Legalize Your Will?
Although law changes with every state, in general, a few things legalize your will. They are-
- The will is written by someone who is mentally healthy and legally at the right age to create a legal will.
- One must write the will without anyone’s influence due to financial interests or interference.
- Anyone writing their will must follow their state laws while doing so.
- The will must have proper witnesses, notarized by state law and recorded.
If someone has a lot of property but is not mentally sound cannot make a will of his possessions. If a will has no witnesses or is not signed is open for any kind of challenge.
Guide to Contesting A Will In Court
Probate mainly proceeds after the death of the person. It is a serious legal procedure entirely executed by the probate court. If the person has a beneficiary, then he or she must calculate the amount of property they have and clear out the debts, if any, in the market. They will also need to inform any other person mentioned in the will.
1. Do Research
When you are contesting a will, you must know the different facts about it. Therefore, thorough research is recommended, like giving a good revisit to the laws for contesting the will. Knowing whether the reason for which you are contesting the will comes with the State probate law or not. You should also keep a note of after what time one can challenge a will.
2. A Petition File
Once you have done your research, take the will to the probate court. It is wise to hire an attorney who specializes in estate planning, but you can also do it yourself. However, if you feel unsafe due to too many people challenging the assets or the assets are at stake, it is best to hire a professional.
3. Always Look For Evidence
Once you are done filing a petition for contesting the will, you need to wait for a hearing date from the probate court. The best way to spend the in-between period is by looking for evidence. Evidence will help to make your case stronger and your chance of winning will become more.
4. Know about the cour dates
Once you contest a will, it might have one or many scheduled court dates. Knowing about them is very important so that you appear in the court at the right time. If you miss the date due to any urgent work, allow your lawyer to continue with it so that process ends in your favor quickly.
Probate – When Contest is not Possible?
Contesting a will in some cases is not applicable. For example, if the will has a no-contest clause, then it becomes almost impossible to contest it. The willmaker might include clauses like the contestor will not get anything from the estate if he or she opts for contesting. In these cases, contesting becomes challenging.
So, that is it for today! keep these points in mind while you opt for contesting a probate in the court. And do hire an expert lawyer.