Reasons for Will Contests and Challenges
Typically, there are two reasons someone can cite for contesting or challenging a Will: mental incapacity and/or undue Influence.
In order to make a Will, a person must be of sound mind. This means the person has to understand what he or she is stipulating when drafting the Will and be fully aware of what his or her estate entails.
If, after you die, it can be shown that you didn’t understand the nature and status of your estate or didn’t understand your relationship to family members still living whose interests may be affected by the Will, your Will can be contested and challenged.
Undue Influence is the most common reason for Will contests. The term refers to a situation where one person uses his or her position of power, or perceived position of power, to take advantage of another, weaker person. As an example, consider an avaricious son who pushes his ailing, no longer mentally sharp parent to write a Will that disinherits his siblings and leaves everything to him. If such underhandedness can be proved, the Will can be voided.
Some other reasons for Will contests and challenges are forgery, fraud, or presenting an invalid Will.
Challenging a Will in Pennsylvania
Though a Will can be changed at any time by the original author as long as he or she is competent enough to do so, a Will cannot be challenged in Pennsylvania unless and until the original author is deceased. Upon the author’s death, the Will is offered for probate to the Register of Wills in the county where the deceased last resided. It is there that the Will can be challenged. Keep in mind, though, that statutes of limitation must be observed, or the right to contest a Will may be lost.
Need help with these matters? Don’t feel bad: They’re complicated and require most people to seek professional legal services. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many people have gotten all the help they need from Attorney E. Nego Pile. Contact Pile Law Firm today – and deal intelligently with Will contests and Will challenges.