Disputing the terms of your loved one’s will

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Will Disputes |

After the death of your loved one, you may find yourself facing the obligation of settling his or her Pennsylvania estate. This means paying off remaining debts, locating all estate assets and distributing assets according to the terms of his or her will. This process can be difficult and emotional, but it can become even more complicated if there are issues that point to the existence of an issue with the will. If something isn’t right with your loved one’s will, you may have grounds to dispute it.

Disputing a will is a complex process, and it is an appropriate course of action in only a few specific situations. You may have grounds to do this if you have suspicion that fraud, undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity affected the terms of the will. If there is evidence of a problem, you will benefit from knowing about how the process works when disputing a will and what you need to succeed in your effort.

Valid grounds for challenging a will

Lack of testamentary capacity is a common reason to challenge a will. This may play a role in why someone changed the terms of his or her will. Lack of testamentary capacity is when an individual lacks the mental capacity to make sound decisions on legal or financial matters. Your loved one may have lacked the testamentary capacity to change a will if he or she could not understand the value of the estate, who the heirs should be and how changes to the will could impact heirs.

Undue influence is another common reason to challenge a will. This is when someone influences a vulnerable testator to include him or her in the will by way of suggestion, threats, deception or other means. Fraud can also be a reason to challenge a will if someone used dishonesty or misrepresentation to cause your loved one to change his or her will for the purpose of some type of gain.

What should you do next?

If you suspect that your loved one experienced undue influence, or other external factors led to changes in a will, you will benefit from knowing the legal options available to you. Speaking with a professional about how to contest a will may provide insight into how this process will work and what to expect based on the details of your individual situation.