Will Disputes, Part 1: How to Contest a Will?

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Having provided clients with estate law services for over twenty years, the attorneys at Time Rice Estate and Elder Law have seen the gamut of issues that arise from improperly executed or poorly planned Wills. Disputes and contests over Wills are more than a main plotline in your favorite novel or TV show, and contesting a Will is often more involved than most people assume.

Grounds to Contest a Will

While there are myriad reasons people have contested Wills, and there’s a lot more to it than just being unhappy with the way a Will was written. We often see executed Wills that don’t comply with the law, and that is definitely a reason to contest a Will.

Unfortunately, we also see Will contests that are a result of something more serious and sinister— the executor or administrator that was appointed to handle the estate is alleged to have conducted fraud or engaged in activities non-compliant with the law, which is certainly grounds for review.

Allegations of the individual who created the Will, known as the testator, was subject to undue influence or pressure from another party to sign their Will or plan their estate in a way they really did not wish is also a concern with Wills that lead to contests. We’ve all seen those plotlines in soap operas, especially instances of what is called a “deathbed Will.” If a Will is placed in front of an incapacitated person, and they signed it despite not knowing what was in it or what was happening, we see grounds for a contest.

Contesting a Will

The various grounds for contesting a Will that we’ve touched on today may seem far-fetched, but it often happens, unfortunately. It is stressful and painful enough to consider someone you love may have been taken advantage of, so we’ve tried to make the review process as easy as possible with a Will Dispute Checklist, provided at no cost.

Because every Will and the circumstances surrounding it are different, it does take time to review all the details, and there is a limit on the time you have to contest a Will. This is why it is imperative that you take action as soon as you receive notice of probate. In the State of New Jersey, residents only have four months to dispute a Will, and residents of other states have six months to dispute a Will.

If you have concerns about the validity of a Will, please reach out to us, so we may review your case at length and provide you with the competent and experienced legal support needed to navigate contesting a Will.

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