The probate process is not always straightforward in Pennsylvania. Sometimes, a family member who is not receiving the inheritance that they expected decides to file a will contest. The process of contesting a will can be long and expensive, but it can be worth it in some situations.
What was written in previous wills?
A person who was listed as a beneficiary in previous wills may have grounds to contest the latest will. If you were included in several revisions of your grandmother’s will, for example, you may have reason to question why you were written out of her last one. On the other hand, if your name was never written in any of the previous wills, your chances of winning a will contest are low.
What are your grounds for contesting the will?
To successfully contest a will, you must prove that the most current will is invalid. This involves presenting evidence that the instructions in the latest will were influenced by coercion, fraud or diminished mental capacity.
If you are arguing that you were illegally omitted from a will, you may also show evidence that the deceased person planned to leave you an inheritance. Any evidence of these intentions may help your will contest. Estate litigation and disputes like this can sometimes be resolved in mediation and may not require a court appearance.
Get a copy of the will
The first step in any will contest is to obtain a copy of the will that is in question. It’s important to review the document and any other evidence that you have to determine whether contesting the will is worth your time and expense.