One of the key components of an estate plan is a will. Through this document, inheritances can be passed on to cherished family members, gifts can be given to charity and guardians can even be named for minor children.
For a will to be valid, certain protocols have to be met. If they are not, then the will can be challenged at a later date. Outlined below are some of the most common reasons for will contests.
When there are signs of undue influence
Undue influence can be an issue, particularly when the testator is in their advanced years. A distant relative might appear suddenly with the knowledge that their family member has vast amounts of wealth.
Through manipulation, they may attempt to persuade the testator to modify the terms of the will in their favor and at the expense of other parties. This is problematic because, for a will to be valid, it must reflect the true wishes of the testator and not those of somebody else.
When the terms were not fully understood
Ideally, estate planning should take place at the earliest possible moment and be renewed throughout an individual’s life. This isn’t always how it works in practice. Many individuals put off estate planning until they have become elderly or afflicted with an illness.
This means that they may be vulnerable in terms of their mental capacity to understand the terms of the will. Again, a will must reflect the true wishes of the testator, and it can be hard to determine whether or not this was the case if they were vulnerable at the time of drafting.
If you have concerns over the validity of a loved one’s will, then it’s best to address these quickly. Seeking some legal guidance will give you a better idea of your options.