When can my will be challenged?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2017 | estate planning |

Planning for the future can be complex and multifaceted. If you are thinking about estate planning, then you have a lot to consider. The law provides a variety of ways you can protect your assets during your life and even after your passing. The legal route you take to distribute your assets is completely up to you, but it will likely depend on your wishes with regard to whom you want to leave your assets and how you want to bequeath them. Although many Illinois and Indiana residents choose wills as a way to create a distribution plan, one thing they don’t want is a contested will.

An individual usually contests a will when he or she feels like they did not receive what they thought was fair in a will. In some instances, these individuals are left out of a will altogether. Some of these people are just disgruntled, but others have valid legal reasons to challenge a will’s validity. One way to do so is to prove that the will that was relied upon during distribution of assets was actually trumped by a newer will or codicil. This, of course, means putting forth evidence of the newer document’s existence as well as evidence with regards to when it was created.

A will may also be challenged if it is believed that the individual who created it was under undue influence or was fraudulently manipulated into creating the will in a particular way. Again, the burden will be on the party challenging the will, so successfully raising one of these issues may require witness testimony that illustrates how undue influence or fraud was present and affected the will’s outcome.

If you are considering creating or modifying a will, you need to make sure that you do so in a way that is legally sound. Failing to do so could leave your will open to challenge. This, in turn, may result in your wishes being misinterpreted or ignored. Therefore, before signing off on a document or even taking the first steps in creating a will, you may want to discuss your situation with a qualified legal professional.