The Last Will is a document that contains the last wishes of a person. While there is no legal compulsion to draft a Will, it acts as strong legal evidence about your wishes. There might be some people who do not like the terms of the Will. However, that reason is not enough to challenge it in probate court.
There are specific legal grounds on which one can challenge a Will, and it is difficult to prove all of them. Sometimes, a single issue can challenge the validity of the entire Will and have it effectively thrown out. If you are an Executor, you may want to look up a “probate law firm near me” to find the best attorneys around you.
Grounds on which you can challenge a Will
- The Will was not signed in accordance with the State laws.
Every state in the US has different laws about how the Will should be signed. For example, the person who is creating the Will should sign it in the presence of at least two witnesses in Florida. If there are no or less than two witnesses, the Will may be held invalid.
You may think that signing a Will in the estate lawyer’s office is enough, but that is not always the case. The first and foremost rule is to sign the document in accordance with the State laws.
- There was an absence of testamentary intention.
The Will may be challenged in court if someone believes that the person did not intend to create a Will. The document becomes completely invalid, and the probate process is canceled if the claimant is able to prove that the testator did not want to make a Will in the first place.
- There was a lack of testamentary capacity.
People above the age of 18 can create a Will, given that they have testamentary capacity. This includes having a sound state of mind and being free of any form of mental illness. A Will can be challenged if the testator is proved to have lacked the mental capacity to write a Will.
People with issues like dementia, insanity, senility, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs lack the mental capacity for something like this. Therefore, even if they have written a Will, it will be considered invalid in the court.
- The Will was procured by fraud.
A Will that is procured by fraud is one that is signed by tricking someone. For example, the testator might have been asked to sign the document without being informed what the document really is. Therefore, the person signs it and later realizes that it is a Will. This is a procedure of fraud.