The loss of a loved one, even if it was expected, still can be a very emotional time for family members. There is a lot that needs to be done while dealing with the grief that they may be experiencing after this event. This includes ensuring that a loved one’s final wishes are taken care of during the administering of the estate.
While most estates are carried out without any major problems, in some circumstances there may be issues that result in a will being challenged by one or more of the beneficiaries or family members. In this post, we discuss three common reasons that may lead to the challenging of a will.
The will was created by someone who was not of sound mind
As people get older, it is possible that they will lose some of their mental abilities. They still may be able to take care of themselves, but they no longer seem to understand certain things. If a family member is alleged to lack the mental capacity to make a will, the resulting case could become very complex.
Parties challenging the will must be able to show evidence that demonstrates that their loved one did not understand what he or she was doing when drafting the document. This may be because of a serious illness, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, or due to other issues that are causing them to have difficulties in making decisions.
The will was unfairly influenced by an outside party
There are some who may try to take advantage of an elderly family member. They may become close with the person, and try to persuade them to make changes in his or her estate plan. These changes mean that very valuable items in the estate are left to someone who would not otherwise receive them.
Family members may not be aware of any of these changes until after the individual has passed away. They then may wish to challenge the will that states the property will go to an unexpected beneficiary. Showing undue influence can also be a challenge, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney to understand how this process works.
There are several wills left behind
Perhaps a will was created several decades ago, and was simply forgotten about. Your loved one may have had a brand new document drafted, and just neglected to have the other will invalidated.
If these wills have different provisions, it is possible that those who are excluded in the new will may challenge the administration of the estate. They may wish to try to protect their rights to the property that they believe they are entitled to under the old document. If this happens, it may take some time to determine the true intent of the person who created the estate plan.