It is recommended that those working their way through the estate planning process in Seattle involve those who will be impacted by their decisions as much as possible. Yet that does not always happen, which is why many who are party to an estate may ultimately be surprised to learn of their interests in it (or lack thereof). It may be easy to assume that those who contest the terms of a will are simply being bitter at not receiving what they wanted. Yet there may indeed be circumstances where one might justifiably question their stake in an inheritance.
People may often promise to pass on certain assets to others, or there may be times when one is able to influence a person near death to increase their stake in that person's estate. If there is evidence to prove that a will (or certain portions of it) should be invalidated, then people are free to do so. Yet according to Section 11.24.010 of the Revised Code of Washington, a will contest must be initiated within four months of the will being submitted to probate (the same is true if one wants to validate a will that has been rejected from probate). Once a petition has been submitted, the petitioner then has 90 days to provide the personal representative of the estate with notice of their intentions.
Reasons for invalidating a will can include the following:
- The decedent was not competent enough to make a last will and testament
- The will was executed under restraint or undue influence
- Evidence shows the decedent had a change of heart following the execution of the will
The RCW goes on to say in Section 11.24.020 that the person challenging a will must also inform all interested parties to the estate (or their representatives).