Contested Wills

Wills can be challenged for various reasons. The most common reasons include:

  1. The will was not properly executed
  2. The decedent lacked capacity when he or she executed the will
  3. The decedent was subject to "undue influence" when he or she executed the will

While not technically a "will contest" beneficiaries often challenge the actions of the personal representative in charge of administering the estate. This is called a breach of fiduciary duty action.

Typically a will contest is initiated by someone who has been disinherited or a beneficiary who believes he or she should have received something more or different under the will. The challenge is initiated with a petition filed in the probate court of the county where the decedent died and the will is offered for probate.

Frequently wills contain a provision that disinherits anyone who challenges the will. This is called an "in terrorem clause". The enforceability of such a provision may depend on the reason for the challenge and its reasonableness. Will contests can be time-consuming or expensive so it is advisable to consult with a professional and discuss the merits of any challenge before proceeding.

Whether you are a beneficiary or disinherited individual challenging a will, or a personal representative defending the enforceability of a will, please contact us for a free consultation concerning the merits of any such challenge (888-526-4489).