Reasons for Will Contests and Challenges
Typically, there are two
reasons someone can cite for contesting or challenging a Will: mental incapacity
and/or undue Influence.
In order to make a Will, a
person must be of sound mind. This means the person has to understand
what he or she is stipulating when drafting the Will and be fully aware
of what his or her estate entails.
If, after you die, it can be
shown that you didn’t understand the nature and status of your estate or didn’t
understand your relationship to family members still living whose interests may
be affected by the Will, your Will can be contested and challenged.
Undue Influence is the most
common reason for Will contests. The term refers to a situation where one person
uses his or her position of power, or perceived position of power, to take
advantage of another, weaker person. As an example, consider an avaricious son
who pushes his ailing, no longer mentally sharp parent to write a Will that
disinherits his siblings and leaves everything to him. If such underhandedness can
be proved, the Will can be voided.
Some other reasons for Will
contests and challenges are forgery, fraud, or presenting an invalid Will.
Challenging a Will in Pennsylvania
Though a Will can be changed at
any time by the original author as long as he or she is competent enough to do
so, a Will cannot be challenged in Pennsylvania unless and until the original
author is deceased. Upon the author’s death, the Will is offered for probate to
the Register of Wills in the county where the deceased last resided. It is
there that the Will can be challenged. Keep in mind, though, that statutes of
limitation must be observed, or the right to contest a Will may be lost.
Need help with these matters?
Don’t feel bad: They’re complicated and require most people to seek
professional legal services. Here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, many people
have gotten all the help they need from Attorney E. Nego Pile. Contact Pile Law Firm today – and deal intelligently
with Will contests and Will challenges.