How to Contest a Will

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I Need to Learn How to Contest a Will - What’s a Will Contest?

Many people are hesitant to learn how to contest a will.  Some feel like it may be disruptive during a time of difficulty for a family.  However, there are instances where a will contest may actually be necessary.  For example, there may have been an error or oversight regarding a particular will provision. 

In such cases, it is possible for a person to file for a will contest.  A will contest is a specific type of legal proceeding where the court reviews the will to check for its validity under will laws. 

If you need to know how to contest a will, here are some starting points:

Under What Circumstances Can a Will be Contested?

In order to understand how to contest a will, you should be familiar with the circumstances in which a will can be contested.  While these may vary according to state laws, in general a will may be contested if:

Thus, if any of these apply to your situation, it may provide a legal basis for a will contest.  You would need to file with the court in order to initiate the process for a will contest.  This can take some time, especially if there are other parties involved.

What Happens if a Will Contest is Successful?

When a will is successfully contested, the court may take a number of different actions to ensure that you receive the property that you’re entitled to.  For example, the court may revise a portion of the will in your favor, even if the property was about to be distributed to a different person.

In some cases, the entire will might be declared void, especially if the original one wasn’t actually valid under law.  In such cases the property may be distributed according to the laws that govern the probate process.  This can yield a different distribution than what was indicated in the will. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With a Will Contest?

Most will contests require the assistance of a lawyer.  It’s to your benefit to hire a wills attorney, who can help explain how to contest a will.  The legal advice and guidance of a lawyer is indispensable during will contest proceedings, which can often be complicated.  Or, if you need help defending against a will contest on behalf of a loved one, an attorney can represent your interests in court.

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Last Modified: 08-26-2014 03:44 PM PDT

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