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When families argue: The issue of the contested will

When individuals create a will, they expect that it is going to be followed. In many cases, the estate will go through probate without any issues. There are other instances in which a person who has an interest in the estate will question the will. This might lead to a contested will.

There are only certain situations that can lead to someone challenging a will. It isn't possible for some random person to decide that he or she wants to hold up the distribution of an estate and file a will challenge. Here are some points to know about when a will contest is legal.

The status of the person

The only people who can contest a will are those who are included in the current will, were in a previous will or would have inherited something if there wasn't a will present. Anyone else doesn't have the legal basis to fight someone's will.

Undue influence

There are cases in which a person who is creating a will might be subjected to the will of another person. In order to prove that a will was created under duress, you have to show that the person influencing the will creator actually had an impact on the decisions made regarding the will.

This can mean that the person paid for the will, consulted the person's attorney and isolated the will creator from loved ones. Essentially, it will take more than just one person talking to the other. Even if there is verbal abuse involved, it might not matter.

The will wasn't handled legally

When a will isn't created in accordance with state laws, it isn't going to be considered valid and might be contested. For example, if the person doesn't sign the will in front of two witnesses who aren't included in the will, it isn't valid.

There is also the issue of fraud that can lead to a will being contested. In this case, the person who is signing the will might not know that he or she is signing a will or might not realize the terms of the document.

All of the reasons for contesting a will are difficult to prove. For this reason, and to protect the family dynamic, it is often best if the people included in the will can work together if there is an issue that creeps up about the person's estate.

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