Being entirely left out of the Will, on top of grieving for the loss of a loved one, is probably be one of the worst-case scenarios for anyone. When this happens, how to contest a Will of a deceased loved one is the obvious choice.
However, contesting a Will is a long, steep, and arduous journey, emotionally and financially. Yet, it is the only legal way to rectify the mistake of being left entirely out of the Will, or not given a fair share you feel you ought to have.
Being able to know and understand when and how to contest a Will helps you to take the proper legal steps.
Do you have legal standing?
A lecturer has stated that successfully contesting a Will rarely happens. It means that contesting a Will is approached with extreme caution. The first step is to determine if you have the legal standing to challenge the Will of the deceased loved one.
The right to contest a will belongs to the following people:
- You are considered as the rightful heir if there were no intestacy law and Will applied. Rightful heirs include parents, children, spouses, siblings, and other family members of the deceased.
- A prior Will designated you as a beneficiary
- The current Will designates you as the beneficiary
- The new Will being questioned show you as the beneficiary
When is the right time to contest a will?
Establishing your legal standing to challenge a Will is only the first step. The next step is to prove that you have a legal reason or “grounds” to contest a Will. Feeling unsatisfied with your share of the inheritance is not grounds to challenge a Will.
The top reasons for challenging a Will include:
- Presence of a new Will – the presence of a new Will than an old probated one is one legal reason to challenge it. The confusion created by the new Will to a previous one is enough grounds to contest it.
- Testator’s mental incapacity – There are three things that a testator needs to understand while executing a Will: 1) To whom and what they are giving; 2) understand the value of their properties and assets; 3) know their natural heirs. A Will can be contested when a testator was not able to understand these three important things.
- A Will that did not meet the requirements of the State – A Will has to meet the requirements of the state it was executed in. A Will is considered invalid if it does not meet state requirements. For instance, some states may require three witnesses while two witnesses work with other states. The Will should also meet the state requirements of the testator’s residence. A Will written in another state other than the residence of the testator might make it invalid.
- Forgery, fraud, or undue influence – A testator making a Will under duress or made to sign a Will through trickery, or a Will showing a forged signature are ample grounds for contesting it.
One of the most stressful legal issues many people have is how to contest a will in Brisbane. Grieving for the loss of a loved one is aggravated when his/her will is not fair to the rightful heirs.