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All You Need To Know About Contested Wills

Did you know that your beneficiaries and other third parties can contest your will? There are various reasons that people can challenge your will. Understanding the grounds for a wills contest helps you create a water-tight will. Continue reading to learn the reasons for wills contests. 

Your Will Does Not Meet The Legal Requirements 

Your will must meet the minimum criteria to become legally binding. Your beneficiaries could use this loophole to invalidate the will. Once this happens, the courts determine how to share your estate. For instance, the law requires two witnesses to sign the will simultaneously. However, they do not need to view the contents of your will. If this does not happen, the courts can declare your will invalid. 

A testator must be of sound mind while writing the will. Suppose you were medically incapacitated or suffering a mental illness like dementia while writing the will. In this case, a beneficiary could claim you lack the testamentary capacity to write the will. The best way to stop such a wills contest is to ensure you have a doctor's assessment before writing the will. It is especially so if you think some of your beneficiaries could use your medical or mental health condition to contest a will. 


Sometimes, a beneficiary could force your hand when writing the will. For example, a primary caregiver could deny you care to ensure they receive a significant chunk of your estate. Alternatively, a beneficiary could provide false information to influence how you write the will. For instance, a child could claim to be financially disadvantaged to ensure you write the will in their favour. In this case, other beneficiaries can contest the will by claiming that you were under undue influence when writing the will. The best way to stop a wills contest based on an undue influence claim is to indicate your estate division rationale. 

Duplicate Wills 

In some cases, the testator has more than one will, each with different conditions. How does this happen? You might have written a new will and forgotten to nullify or destroy the old will. Alternatively, an unscrupulous individual might have created a fake will. In this case, the courts assess both wills to establish their authenticity. For example, the judge can check signatures to establish the will's authenticity. However, if you wrote both wills, the court could determine how to share your estate. 

A wills and estate lawyer is your best bet at avoiding contested wills. The professional ensures the document meets the required standards and initiates various interventions to stop beneficiaries from disputing your will.  

For more info about contested wills, contact a local attorney.