The passing of a loved one often comes as a shock to the family. In some cases, however, there are aftershocks that can include the discovery that a will has been drastically altered to favor a single particular person.
This is often when a family member (or members) decides to contest a will. The contesting of a will is also referred to as probate litigation.
Before we delve deeper into probate litigation, let’s remember that a will is the document drawn up by a person with the help of their estate planning attorney. The will is attested to by witnesses, and the document describes how the decedent’s property is to be distributed.
Reasons for contesting a will can include the following:
- Undue influence: a person exerted undue influence on the loved one and persuaded him or her to change the terms of the will
- Single beneficiary: one person is unexpectedly named as the single beneficiary of all assets and benefits
- Creditors: details are undisclosed
- Disputes over roles: differences over estate administrator, guardianship, conservatorship
- Decedent’s state of mind: the loved one lacked capacity to create a valid will
- Duress: decedent signed will because of coercion or threats
- Abuse of relationship: these relationships involve confidential and professional relationships between the decedent and accountants, therapists, health care providers, etc.
The contesting of a will can be an emotionally draining experience, often pitting one relative against another. These matters also take a person into the legal world where issues, evidence and paperwork can be at times confusing and overwhelming. Those in Flemington facing a will contest and probate litigation can discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in these difficult matters.