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What can cause a will to be challenged?

Wills are a pillar of the estate planning world, and no estate is complete without one. With that said, wills aren't immune from a legal challenge. When facing a legal challenge, parts of the will, or even the entire will, could be thrown out.

Even in such cases, there are caveats. Most judges will want to see a deceased person's last wishes go through unimpeded, and as such most legal challenges to a will are bound to fail. Here are a few of the circumstances that could lead to a successful legal challenge to a will:

  • The mental state, or testamentary capacity, of the grantor. If the person creating the will lacked the mental capacity to understand the provisions and consequences of the will, then a legal challenge might be successful.
  • The will must be free of any fraud or undue influence. If someone interfered with or improperly influenced the person creating the will, against his or her wishes, then a legal challenge to the will could be successful.
  • Logistical steps were missed or botched. Were the provisions of the will proper and legal? Does another will exist? Were there the required number of witnesses to the execution of the will? Such things could lead to interested parties challenging the legitimacy of a will.

If you have any questions about the legality of your will, or need to have a will drawn up, please consult with an experienced attorney in your state.

Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," Accessed Sept. 5, 2017

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