A will, also known more formally as a last will and testament, is a legal document that preserves the last wishes of its creator and then discloses them upon his death. However, it’s possible that a situation could arise where you feel you must contest the legality and validity of a family member's will. It’s important you understand what that means, what could result, and how an attorney can help.
What Does It Mean to Contest a Will?
Contesting a last will and testament means challenging the validity of a will. This usually involves questioning complex law and psychological states. More specifically, a will contest is usually executed for one of two purposes:
- To render void a portion of the document
- To submit a whole new will, believed to be the most recent
You Must Have Legal Grounds
To bring a successful accusation against the last will and testament of a deceased person (decedent), you must have valid grounds on which to do so—which involves identifying yourself as an “interested person” and gathering evidence. Your grounds for challenging a will may include claims that:
- The decedent was in a poor mental state.
- The decedent did not sign in accordance with state law.
- The decedent was coerced into signing the will.
- The decedent was tricked into signing the will.
It’s important to mention here that Virginia places the burden of proof on the person who contests the will—meaning that you and your attorney must work quickly to gather meaningful evidence and file the claim with the appropriate court.
Your Attorney Can Walk You Through
If you need to contest a will or have questions about how to prove a will’s validity, it’s important you consult with an attorney who can provide you with trustworthy guidance. The attorneys at Tavss Fletcher can hear your objection to the will, advise you of your options, and help you with your next steps. To speak with a member of our team about your case, start a live online chat on our website.