The death of a loved one can be stressful, especially when you’re left with questions about their assets and estate. Some people are unhappy with what they receive or don’t receive from a deceased person’s estate, leading them to wonder: can you contest a will?
The short can you contest a will is yes, but the process is long and complicated (and expensive). Generally, only interested parties can sue to challenge a will in probate court. That means that you must have standing and a valid legal reason to do so, which goes beyond simply being unhappy with what you got.
Those with standing to contest a will include beneficiaries and heirs. Beneficiaries are those who are named in a will, and heirs are relatives that would inherit under the state’s laws of intestate succession if there were no will at all.
Challenging a Will: Understanding the Process and Grounds for Contesting Testamentary Documents
You can also contest a will amendment known as a codicil, which is added to an existing will after it has been created. However, you must have proof that the testator was unduly influenced or that the changes made to the will were made without their full awareness and consent.
Ultimately, the best way to contest a will is by filing a petition with the probate court, and you should do this as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. It’s important to note, though, that the cost of this process can be prohibitive for many families and individuals.