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Common legal grounds for contesting a will

It is often difficult to separate emotions from reason when caught in the predicament of a will contest. Nevertheless, some families simply cannot avoid these cases, especially when situations involve unclear wills. What are the basics of contesting a will in Seattle?

The Balance points out that there are four legal grounds when disputing a will, including those regarding improper documentation. When a last will and testament are not signed in conformity with state laws, problems can arise when heirs do not agree with the details of the will. Each state contains its own laws surrounding the signing of wills, and some require the Testator and witnesses to be in the same room -- each signing the will with the others watching. When there is a misstep in this procedure, a will can be found invalid. Other legal grounds for contesting a will include, but are not limited, to:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity on behalf of the Testator
  • The will was procured by fraud 
  • Testator was unduly influenced into signing a will   

In addition, The Balance makes clear that contesting the validity of a will can be challenging, but that effective cases typically involve the aforementioned legal grounds. 

An article in Forbes also weighs in on the often tricky obstacle of contesting a will, stating that most contests unfold between family members who feel their distributions of money or possessions laid out in the will are unjust. One challenge lies within the proper execution of a will from the start; ensuring a will is accurate can make contesting that will difficult if disputed at a later date. Forbes highlights the importance that mental capacity, family understanding and a no contest clause can have in preventing will disputes in the future.      










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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
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Lynnwood, WA 98046

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