A will is a legal document made by a person that details the allocation of their assets after their death. Anybody can create a will. Like any other binding document, a will needs to be written by someone who is sound of mind. The will generally includes instructions about the distribution of the person’s assets. However, because the law allows individuals the right to make a will without considering its fairness, it can often lead to a very uncertain scenario. In fact, some valued members of the family might even be left with nothing.
However, contesting a will is not as straightforward as it seems. You can’t file frivolous lawsuits in court, especially if there’s no legal standing. Before you decide to challenge a will, it’s best to first consult with an experienced attorney. Attorneys who deal exclusively in handling will agreements and challenges can give you a better idea if there are any legal grounds for filing a claim. Here are some of the stipulations under which you are allowed to challenge a will:
- A Grossly Unfair Scenario
The judge will consider if the will is grossly unfair, and whether a valued member of the family is unjustly excluded from asset distribution. If this is the case, you can file a challenge and request the court to redistribute the assets.
- Financial Dependency
If a member of the family is financially dependent, with no income of their own, the law might decide to give them a small portion of the benefits derived from the will. It’s important to note that financially dependent family members can’t file to get additional benefits; if they have already been granted a reward in the will, this will be treated as final.
- The Deceased’s Mental Capacity
One of the most important reasons why so many wills are contested is because the mental capacity of the deceased is never considered. A contract can only be made by a person who is of sound mind. Even though a will isn’t a contract per se, it is still a legally binding document that instructs the lawyer or the state to divide an individual’s assets in a particular manner. Considering the deceased’s mental capacity is important to know whether he or she was of sane mind while making the will. If they were manipulated by others or they weren’t of sound mind, this might create the basis for a valid claim.
- Undue Influence
Any document signed in the presence of undue influence cannot be legally binding. If evidence comes to light showing that the will was created by the deceased when they were being pressured from outside forces, the will might not be taken into consideration. Legal documents signed under undue influence hold no influence in the court of law, and the judge might decide to change the distribution of the assets according to what he or she sees fit. These scenarios in which a will can be challenged are important to consider.