Losing a beloved parent or family member is an emotional time. After such a loss, surviving family members need time to grieve, remember, and heal. They must also deal with practical matters, such as taking care of their loved one’s estate. In most cases, this is accomplished without any problems. Although relatively rare, there are occasions when someone contests the validity of the will. If someone has contested your loved one’s last will and testament, it’s important to speak to an experienced Minnesota probate attorney immediately.
What Is a Will Contest?
Most people have only seen will contests in movies, where they unfold over dramatic disagreements, such as someone being denied an inheritance.
In reality, a will contest can only be brought under specific circumstances: revocation, undue influence, fraud, or incapacity. Furthermore, a will contest can only be brought by an “interested party,” which includes legal heirs, beneficiaries under the will, and anyone who stands to benefit if the court declares the will invalid.
When an interested party alleges that a will is invalid due to revocation, he or she must prove that the decedent revoked the will before death. A person can revoke a will explicitly in writing, by a physical act such as destroying the will, or by making a new, valid will.
If the person contesting the will claims that the will is invalid due to undue influence, he or she must show that someone used improper influence (persuasion) over the decedent to pressure or force the making of the will.
Evidence of fraud can also invalidate a will. Fraud can take many forms, including a forged signature or proof that the decedent didn’t realize what he or she was signing.
Finally, a testator (the person making the will) must be fully possessed of all mental faculties when making a will. Evidence that the testator was incapacitated at the time the will was signed will invalidate the entire will.
Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm
Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today our office today to learn more and to discuss your options.
This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.