Do you think a will was unduly influenced or unfairly left you out? Here are some common reasons to challenge a will.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
When challenging a will, one potential ground is to question the testator's testamentary capacity. This refers to the mental capacity of the individual creating the will. If it can be proven that the testator lacked the necessary mental capacity at the time of making the will, it may render the will invalid.
Mental capacity typically involves the ability to understand the nature and extent of one's assets, the relationships with potential beneficiaries, and the implications of distributing the estate through a will. Conditions such as dementia, mental illness, or cognitive impairment can raise doubts about a person's testamentary capacity. Challenging a will on this ground requires gathering evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, or expert opinions, to support the claim that the testator was not of sound mind when executing the will.
Contesting a will based on undue influence involves arguing that the testator was coerced or manipulated into making certain provisions in the will against their own free will. Undue influence typically occurs when someone exerts pressure or control over the testator, overpowering their judgment and influencing their decisions regarding the distribution of their estate. The undue influencer may use tactics like isolation, manipulation, or threats to manipulate the testator's choices.
To successfully challenge a will on grounds of undue influence, it is necessary to demonstrate the existence of such influence and its impact on the testator's decision-making process. This may require presenting evidence such as witness statements, documentary proof, or expert analysis to support the claim of undue influence.
Fraud or Forgery
Challenging a will based on fraud or forgery involves asserting that the will was created through deceitful or deceptive means or that the testator's signature was forged. Fraudulent creation of a will may include instances where someone impersonates the testator, presents a false will, or makes substantial alterations to the will without the testator's knowledge or consent.
To challenge a will on this ground, it is crucial to gather evidence that substantiates the claim of fraud or forgery. This can include presenting document experts, comparing handwriting samples, or providing testimony from individuals with knowledge of the testator's true intentions. Proving fraud or forgery requires a thorough investigation and the ability to present compelling evidence to support the allegations.
Contact a local probate lawyer to learn more.
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