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Is it difficult to challenge a will?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2020 | Firm News |

One of the main reasons why people plan their estates thoroughly is to ensure that there is minimal conflict after they die over assets. Depending on family relationships, will conflicts can be very destructive.   Many people want to know what their chances are if they want to challenge an existing will. According to Findlaw, this is very difficult to do.  Approximately 99% of all wills go through the probate process with no problem.

Why are wills hard to challenge?

Wills can be very difficult to challenge if they are properly constructed and executed, since this is the final testament of the deceased person. Since that person is not around to hire legal representation or represent themselves in court, the courts take wills very seriously.

Generally speaking, the most successful will challenges come from spouses. The most successful grounds for a challenge involve an unrelated third-party having “undue influence” on the deceased.

What is undue influence?

Essentially, if you can prove that a third-party manipulated the deceased into producing a specific will, then the court will void the will either in whole or in part. Doing this requires the challenger to prove that the deceased was vulnerable to the third party and was not able to stand up for his or her own wishes.

The other common grounds to challenge wills involves proving that the will was either a forgery or otherwise procured by fraud. In the event that you are successful in voiding either part of or the entire will, then the courts will follow intestacy laws to distribute assets.  Intestacy laws provide rules for distribution of the estate assets based on degrees of relationship to the deceased person,