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Red flags to consider when a loved one changes a will

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | Inheritance Disputes |

You may have found peace of mind in the fact that your loved one prepared a will and attended to other estate planning matters. This knowledge gives you hope that, when the time comes, the estate will pass on with little or no legal controversy. However, the news that your Washington family member has changed the will could cause concern. People often good reasons for altering or updating their wills, but some actions or issues could raise red flags about the new will’s validity.

When would a will be invalid?

In some situations, family members suspect that someone tricked or even coerced their loved one into changing the will. The person behind the manipulation could be a relative who has suddenly expanded a relationship with your loved one. New romantic partners or caregivers have also been known to exert what is called undue influence on people to get them to change their wills for their personal benefit.

Proof that the testator took that action due to lies, manipulation or threats may invalidate a will. Similarly, a person of unsound mind cannot sign a valid will because you can argue an inability to understand the document. If you have observed signs of dementia, or know of a medical diagnosis, prior to the signing of the new will, then you could challenge the will on the ground of lack of mental capacity. Evidence that someone forged your loved one’s name on a will provides another reason to challenge a will.

Acceptable reasons to update a will

Wills are an important part of an estate plan, and many reasons call for updating the document. The death of an heir, beneficiary or personal representative named in the will warrants an update.

Divorce, marriage and birth or adoption of children motivate most will changes. The acquisition of new real estate or receipt of an inheritance also present suitable reasons to update a will.

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