Most Wills are probated without issue, but Will contests do occur and often have a significant (and negative) impact on inheritances. A Will contest begins when a possible beneficiary claims the current Will is invalid. But only certain people can challenge the validity of a Will and they must have a valid legal basis to challenge it.
Intestate beneficiaries are one type of interested party that may contest the validity of a Will. A Will may not give every family member an inheritance. But if a person is an heir under the intestacy statutes, they likely have standing to contest a Will.
Another interested party are beneficiaries of a prior Will of the deceased. If the deceased created a prior Will that was subsequently revoked by the newer Will, a beneficiary in the prior Will has standing to challenge the new Will’s validity. For example, if a mother creates a Will giving everything to her son and creates a new Will a month before her death disinheriting the son, the son could challenge the new Will.
But merely having standing to contest the Will does not guarantee that a court will hear the case. There must also be a legal basis that the law recognizes for making a Will invalid. If you have questions about contesting a Will, speak with an estate planning attorney for more information about the grounds that courts recognize as valid.
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