Ways to Contest a Will
It is a very difficult time when a loved one passes away; estate planning lawyers State College PA trusts understand that, during this time, you may find yourself questioning the validity of their will, which can make it an even more trying time. Contesting the validity of a will is a difficult process, but there are a few reasons when you should certainly do so.
The estate planning lawyers State College PA knows from De Boef Lucchesi have years of experience in estate litigation. A professional from our team will work hard to investigate your will contention, and fight to ensure your loved one’s wishes are followed just the way he or she would have wanted.
The Will Contention Process
As mentioned, it is difficult to have a will contested. However, experienced estate planning lawyers in State College PA know that there are four grounds to contest the validity of a will:
1. The Testator did not have the testamentary capacity to sign the will.
Testamentary capacity describes a person’s mental and legal ability to create or alter a valid will. In order for the Testator to have testamentary capacity, he or she must understand:
- The value and nature of his or her assets;
- The legal effects of signing his or her will; and
- The logical choice of who will inherit his or her assets.
There are state laws that determine the level of testamentary capacity the Testator must have in order to be considered able to sign his or her will.
2. The will was not signed in accordance with state laws.
Each state has different and specific laws in place for how a will must be signed. For instance, in Florida, in order for a will to be valid, the Testator must be in the same room as two witnesses, and all parties must watch each signing. While many would assume that, if a will was created with a team of estate planning lawyers State College PA prefers, it would be properly signed. But, in reality, that does not always happen. Not signing a will according to state laws is the most common reason why a will is contested.
3. The Testator was influenced to sign a will.
It is not uncommon for family members to influence a loved one’s decisions. As people age, they tend to be more susceptible to others’ influences. If a Testator was so severely influenced by others that he or she lost his or her free will and succumbed to people’s wishes, that could render the will invalid.
4. The will was created by fraud.
As one of our estate planning lawyers State College PA recommends can tell you, a will is considered fraudulent if the Testator did not know he or she was signing it. If the Testator was told he or she was signing a power of attorney, for example, but the document was actually a will, then the will would be fraudulent. As the Testator would be unable to be questioned about what he or she was told to be signing, this situation could be difficult to prove. State laws would then require witnesses to be questioned about what they believed the Testator was signing. If their testimonies were questionable, the will could be considered fraudulent.
State College Estate Planning with De Boef Lucchesi
It is important to make sure your loved one’s last wishes are honored. If you feel your loved one’s will is not valid, contact the team at De Boef Lucchesi. Contesting a will is a difficult journey, but our lawyers are up for the challenge and will work hard on your loved one’s behalf. Call our team of estate planning lawyers State College PA regularly consults at 814-231-4050 to set up a consultation.