For many individuals, writing a will is the most appropriate option to allow them to express their wishes about the distribution of assets. In more complex estates or when special circumstances apply, a comprehensive estate plan may include a variety of instruments, including powers of attorney, a living will, trusts and a pour-over will.
There are many times people feel upset about the way a Will has been written, and this usually occurs when someone is unhappy with the way an estate is to be paid out under a Will. Not just anyone can contest a Will, for example you cannot be a concerned friend that decides to contest a Will, you have to be a part of an interested party, meaning you would have inherited from our loved one if there was no will or you are a beneficiary of the will.
At Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn we see three common Will changes:
- That the will is not technically correct (improperly witnessed or signed, etc.);
- There was undue influence on the person making the Will;
- That the person lacked mental capacity to make the will.
All of the above situations occur, and when they do, it is proper to investigate and contest the Will, if justified. But Will contests are easily avoided if an experienced attorney assists in the Will drafting and signing. Oftentimes even Attorneys can make serious mistakes which can cause problems and lead to probate litigations. If you have found flaws in your will, your attorney at Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn will take the steps necessary to make a sound will and ensure you that the issues do not invalidate the will.
You cannot contest a will solely because you think the distribution is unfair. A will can be contested only in certain circumstances. And there must be evidence that something is wrong with the will. The following are the situations in which a will may be contested: Mental incapacity, Undue Influence, Fraud, and if the Will was not executed properly.
You may contest a will if you believe your loved one did not have the mental capacity to write the will. The best way to prove this is with a statement from a doctor who examined your loved one around the time he or she wrote the will. If you believe another person exerted undue influence over your loved one and induced your loved one to change the distribution under his or her will, you may contest the will based on undue influence. Generally, the person contesting the will is required to prove the person exerted undue influence. Arguing your loved one was fraudulently induced into signing his or her will is another way to contest a will. Last, a will may be invalid if it was not executed properly. Each state has laws dictating what makes a will valid. Usually, the signing of the will must be witnessed by independent witnesses. If the document was not witnessed properly, it may be invalid.
If there is a Will contest, this cost of the administering estate can double or triple due to the possibility of a trial. Wills can be found invalid, and therefore the wish for your estate to be divided accordingly will not happen and this can be devastating.
If you want your Will to be done properly, and do not want it to be contested, then let us help you. Even if you already have a Will drafted or complete, it may be best to get a second look to ensure you that your Will is valid. Contact Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn at (763) 427-5131 and we will help you.