Do you have the right to contest a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Estate Planning

After a will gets created, there is no guarantee that everything will follow in accordance with it. In fact, it is possible for other parties to contest the will.

However, not just anyone can contest a will. It is important to have both the standing and also legal grounds to do so. But what are these requirements?

Proper standing

Forbes discusses what you should know about contesting a will. First, a person contesting a will must have proper standing. Legally, having standing gets defined as someone with a financial interest in the estate itself. Beneficiaries fall under this category, as well as creditors who would not get paid according to the existing will. This also applies to anyone who would stand to gain something from the estate if it were not for the will.

Adequate grounds

Next, one must prove to have adequate grounds. Legally, having grounds includes having any legally supported reasons why the will should not get validated. As an example, if the grantor of the will did not have the mental capacity at the time of writing to understand the impact of what they wrote, it could count as grounds for contest. Procedural mistakes, undue influence and fraud also fall under this category.

It is possible to contest a will either before or after probate. This depends on the laws of the state. Pre-probate contests get called caveats. Most states allow for a period of 30 to 90 days for anyone with grounds and standing to contest a will. If this period passes, the person loses their legal right to contest.