How to File a Contest Will

Sometimes heirs to an estate don’t feel that their loved one’s last wishes represented them well. They might think the inheritance they received is unfair, or the way the will was written doesn’t follow state law. In such cases, a contest will may be in order. But there are several important things to consider before filing the necessary paperwork.

Only “interested persons” can contest will , and that typically means people who would inherit or lose if the will were declared invalid. Generally, this includes spouses, children, domestic partners, parents, siblings and grandchildren. Other parties who could file a contest include creditor’s and others with property rights in the estate.

How to Contest a Will: Understanding the Process and Your Legal Rights

Contestants can also challenge the will if they believe it was written or amended improperly. This might involve claims of duress, coercion or fraud. In Ricciardi’s experience, most of these claims involve a person who had significantly more access to the testator in their later years and who used that advantage to influence the creation or modification of the will.

Once a petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. During this time, lawyers for both sides will gather evidence and make depositions. The more valid proof that can be presented, the better chance of successfully proving your case.