Wills and estates can be extremely difficult, as they come with a variety of financial and emotional issues. Indeed, there are times in which challenging the validity of a deceased person’s will may be perfectly valid. These reasons can vary from state to state, as each state, including Pennsylvania, has its own laws as they pertain to wills and probate.
What are some valid reasons for a will to be challenged?
An estate dispute can be messy and expensive, so you want to make sure that you fully understand the reason that you believe a will may not be valid. From there, you should speak with competent legal counsel to determine whether or not you may have a case in court.
Valid reasons to challenge a will include:
- Capacity: All adults, and some minors, must have “testamentary capacity.” This means that they are believed to have been of sound mind and body at the time that they created their estate documents, including a will, and signed those documents. An adult who is suffering from dementia, under the influence of a mind-altering substance, or suffering from insanity does not have this capacity. As such, any estate documents developed and signed during this period may not be valid, and if you have evidence that this was the case, you may be able to challenge the validity of a will.
- Fraud: Documents from a will must be signed by the holder of the estate, and any fraudulent documents will, of course, result in a will being invalidated.
- Undue influence: If a person lacked the free will to create their will – like if they were threatened into doing so – the will may not be valid.
- Meeting Pennsylvania law: For a will to be valid in Pennsylvania, it must meet numerous requirements. Failure to do so means that the will may not be valid and may be thrown out in court.
There are many reasons that a will may not be valid in Pennsylvania. If you believe that a will is not valid, make sure you do your homework and fully understand what specific provisions of Pennsylvania law you believe that the will is violating.