A will executor is an individual chosen to manage the property and assets of someone after he has died. The responsibility of the executor is to carry out the person’s wishes by distributing property and paying off debts like funeral expenses. It is also an executor’s responsibility to defend the will against any challenges.

What Is a Contested Will?

A contested will is is a will whose validity id challenged by a person with legal standing to do so. In other words, the person objects to legality of the will.

Is Contesting a Will the Same as Trying to Remove Me as an Executor?

No. People can seek to remove an executor from an estate by filing a petition. Removing an executor means the court no longer allows an executor to manage the estate. Legal reasons to remove an executor in some states include:

  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Conflict of interest with the state
  • Has past felonies
  • Refusing to follow accounting procedures
  • Stealing from the estate
  • Wasting estate’s assets
  • Refusing to obey any court orders

What Are the Common Reasons a Will Is Contested?

Although someone may not like what left—or not left—to them in the will, they still must have a legal reason to challenge the will beyond simply being dissatisfied with the distribution of the estate. Legal reasons why someone seeks to invalid date a will includes:

  • Undue influence
  • Abuse of a confidential relationship
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Coercion
  • Duress

What Is Needed to Prove the Will Is Valid?

An executor must prove there was no coercion, undue influence, forgery, or fraud involving anyone receiving assets or property in the will.

Ways to Defend a Contested Will

The exact way to defend a contested will depends on specific circumstances. However, having witnesses such as the person’s doctor testify to his mental capacity is on way to contest a will. Other evidence includes letters written by the individual expressing his wishes regarding how he wanted the assets distributed.

Should I Contact an Attorney about Defending a Contested Will?

If you are an executor of a person’s will, you should contact an estate attorney. It is important to discuss you legal options with an attorney experienced in defending lawsuits.