Anyone with an interest in an estate might challenge a will. When a will is challenged, the personal representative holds all assets until such time as the challenge is determined. It is most common for a will to be challenged by children, or other family member, who are left out of the will, or by family members who dispute the mental capacity of their relative at the time the will was executed.
Evidence is Essential
Evidence (i.e. documents, video) is essential in a will challenge but it can be difficult to produce. In a will challenge, one party claims the will is not valid and the court must determine the validity of the will. Medical records may be used to prove a testator did not have the needed mental capacity to sign a will. Witnesses may be questioned to determine whether anyone influenced a testator to make changes to a will which are questioned as being uncharacteristic for the decedent.
If there is more than one will, the court must determine which will controls. Usually it is the most recent will, but if a party challenging the most recent will can show it was signed under undue influence or is somehow not valid, the court may determine an earlier executed will controls the estate. The court’s goal in a will challenge is to determine the true intent of the decedent and to rule accordingly.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you create secure and legally clear documents to avoid a will challenge. Call us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.