If a loved one or family member has recently died and you feel as though the will that he or she left behind was not what he or she would have wanted or it treated you unfairly, then you may find yourself wanting to talk to a lawyer about contesting the will and challenging the decision of the executor or family lawyer. This can be a very difficult process and one that can be time-consuming without the expert help of a lawyer who specialises in estate planning, knows how the court system operates, and knows what to look for in a will that may make it invalid.
The Testator Was Incapacitated
This is one of the most common reasons that people will claim when contesting a will and one that holds a lot of water in court. Since a will is created to carry out the wishes of the person who is now deceased, it is imperative that he or she was in his or her right mind when signing the will. If he or she was not and you and your lawyer are able to prove that he or she was incapacitated during the signing, then you will have a shot at proving the will to be invalid. Unfortunately, this proof can rely on the word of witnesses to the signing of the will and may even require calling a family doctor to the stand to prove that the testator was unaware of what he or she was signing and the significance of it.
The Will Is Fraudulent
Another reason why people fight a will is because they believe that it is fraudulent. If the testator signs the will while believing that he or she was signing another piece of paper, then his or her signature was obtained by fraud and the will is not valid. This can be very difficult to prove as well and the witnesses to the signature will be called to court to discuss what the testator believed about the paper that he or she was signing. They will also be asked why they were asked to be witnesses and the judge will listen to each of their testimony before making a decision about the validity of the will in question.
If you think that you have legal grounds to contest the validity of a will, then your first step is to hire a great lawyer who has experience winning these kinds of cases. Trying to handle this case by yourself is next to impossible and while you may know many great lawyers, you will want to only hire someone who has a proven track record of being able to prove that wills are invalid. Without this experience, it is likely that your lawyer will not be able to do the work that you request and you will be out time and money.