Common Grounds To Challenge A Will
Creating a will and estate plan is one of the most beneficial things that a person can do for themselves and their loved ones. However, there are times when heirs and beneficiaries do not agree with the contents of a will or suspect that nefarious actions led to the outcome of the testator’s disposition of their estate. In these situations, a challenge to the will may occur in probate court, and an experienced estate planning attorney is necessary to ensure that your best interests are protected. At Fisher Law LLC , located in Norwood and serving Greater Boston, , our knowledgeable lawyers are here to help. Call or contact us today to learn more.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
Lacking testamentary capacity is the most common challenge to a will. This means that the person who created the will, called the testator, lacked the mental capacity to create or amend their estate document. This challenge arises most often when the testator suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia when the will was created or edited. In order to have testamentary capacity, the testator must understand the extent of their estate, who could have claims on their property, and what the act of executing a will means.
Another common claim in a will challenge is the use of undue influence. Undue influence occurs when a family member, friend, or caregiver exerts their own influence on the testator to the point that the will reflects that person’s wishes and not that of the testator. Undue influence requires more than suggestion and necessitates a substantial amount of influence over the testator when the will was created or amended.
Fraud or Forgery
Fraud or forgery are two other challenges to a will in Massachusetts. Fraud refers to the use of trickery for financial gain. One common example of fraud in a will challenge is to hide the signatory page of a will in a stack of other documents to be signed, with the testator signing off on a will that does not reflect their wishes. Forgery refers to the creation of a false will, and this can happen in a number of ways. A person may remove pages from a valid will or create an altogether false document and attempt to pass it off as legitimate.
Finally, a will in Massachusetts may be challenged because of procedural issues. Massachusetts law dictates what must be done in order to write a valid will. For example, the will must be in writing and cannot be oral. The will must also be signed by two disinterested witnesses, and if these procedural issues are not met then the will can be thrown out and a previous version or intestate law enacted in its place. To learn more about the various challenges to a will, talk to our office today.
Talk to Our Office Today
If someone has challenged your loved one’s will or you suspect that a will is invalid, the experienced Norwood estate planning attorneys at Fisher Law LLC are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation of your case to learn more about your legal options.