Some of you out there may know what this is all about, but in most cases, it is something which will never enter their lives. But anyway, what is known as a “will contest” is a dispute by anyone as to the legitimacy of a bequest, which in simpler terms means the passing down of personal property through a will. This is where legal professionals can enter the scene, who with their experience and full knowledge, can assist and make things move much smoother and make sure no errors are made.
In most cases, a will contest is usually carried out by a close family member who happens to be challenging the interpreted decision of the departed to leave a specific piece of property to someone. There are a number of reasons why a will can be legally contested. For example, the contesting party might state that the departed was not in his or her right state of mind to execute the will at the time that it was signed. Other typical reasons are things such as fraud and coercion, also known as “undue influence.”
Being named is of the Essence
So as to bring a will contest, the person who is contesting a will must have a good reason for doing so, such as he or she will personally have something to gain should the legal result be granted. In the circumstances of a will contest, the person will normally be in a better position if he or she is named on the face of the will or will inherit something from the departed if the decision of the contest is granted. Should the contesting party not be mentioned at all, the will contest will be dismissed immediately.
Maybe the most common contention for the will contest is that the departed did not have his or her full mental capacity to execute the will when he or she did so. In order to have that capacity, the deceased generally must have enough mental awareness to fully understand the consequences of his or her conduct.
As an Example
A contesting party might dispute a will that was executed just before the death of the departed, on the grounds that because of the illness that resulted in his or her demise, the departed was not properly aware to correctly execute the will. And if the now deceased, was under heavy medication during the time of execution just that alone can be potential grounds for declaring the will null and void.
One other commonplace contention for declaring a will invalid is the affirmation that the departed was under undue influence whilst executing the will. Undue influence may be found if the will was executed under pressure by a third party who had a commanding influence over the departed. In addition, anyone who makes a will contest can declare that the party who is standing to benefit from the will, fabricated it and faked the signature of the departed.
Now you can see why professional legal advice is a must!