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Who can contest a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Once a person makes an estate plan, they tend to assume that their assets will be passed down according to those wishes. They likely don’t expect that someone might decide to contest their will. However, this is a possibility.

With this said, it’s important to note that there are only specific circumstances in which someone can contest a will. Additionally, only certain people are empowered to challenge a will in court.

Spouses and children

Spouses are commonly entitled to contest a will, especially if they believe the will violates the provisions of marital property laws or if they have been omitted from the will under suspicious circumstances.

Children of the decedent, including both biological and legally adopted children, have the right to contest a will. This is particularly relevant if the children are minors at the time of the parent’s death or if they were dependent on the deceased for financial support.

Named beneficiaries and creditors

Individuals who are named in the will or in a previous version of the will can contest if they believe the will doesn’t reflect the true intentions of the deceased, possibly due to issues like undue influence or lack of capacity at the time the will was signed.

Creditors of the decedent can contest a will if the estate appears to be insufficient to meet outstanding debts and obligations. Their contest is typically based on the need to ensure that the estate is administered correctly and that debts are paid before any distributions to beneficiaries are made.

Will contests are complex undertakings that require considerable thought before they’re executed. Working with someone who’s familiar with this situation can help to explain the possible outcomes and options that are available to those who want to prevent such contests and those who need to initiate them for one reason or another.