When going through the probate process, it's possible for heirs to contest what was documented in the will so that they can benefit from it. Sometimes these challenges do not have merit and the person is just upset with what the will states, while at other times there is merit to their objection. That's why it helps to know what happens when a will is contested during probate.
An Heir Challenges The Will's Validity
It's possible for an heir to challenge the validity of the will, and they have an argument to back up that claim. Oftentimes this is done by simply looking at the will at face value to determine if it is actually a will. There will be things that are looked at, such as if the document states that it is a will, if there were witnesses to the will being signed, and if the will was properly notarized. The will must have also been created with the proper language that makes it a valid will in some states.
However, there are things that can come up that can be contested if there is proof. This includes if the witnesses did not actually verify that the will was signed. They may also question the capacity of the person signing the will to indicate that they didn't know what they were signing, which will involve questioning doctors, the notary, and witnesses.
An Heir Challenges The Will's Interpretation
If a will was poorly drafted, it's possible for the will to be challenged due to the interpretation of the document. This happens when the creator of the will was not specific in the will in a way that causes confusion. For example, the will may state that their car is to be left to a specific person, but the deceased owned multiple cars.
What happens in this situation is that a lawyer will help find similar judgments in the past when wills were contested in similar situations. It's also possible to find supporting documents that may support the deceased's thoughts at the time of creating the will. For example, maybe there were emails that were very specific about the issue being contested.
Are you going through a situation where a will is being contested during probate and you're unsure what to do about it as the executor? Make sure that you work with a probate lawyer to help you deal with this problem.
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