5 Reasons You May Contest a Will

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September 16, 2015

When dealing with the final wishes of a loved one who has recently passed, it can be difficult to separate emotions from what needs to be done. Fortunately, you can seek the aid of a skilled and empathetic St. Louis estate planning attorney who can act as an objective third party. Additionally, an attorney can help advise you on the possibility of contesting a will, in the event that you believe executing a will would not be in the best interest of the deceased or the friends, family, and/or business partners left behind. Here are five reasons to contest a will that may shed light on your current situation.

  1. In order to be valid, a will must be written, witnessed, and executed in the state where the testator had legal residence (owned property, conducted business, paid taxes, etc.). Each state has different requirements both for legal residency and execution of wills.
  2. Mental Capacity. A will can be declared invalid if a person can prove that the creator of the will was suffering from mental illness, dementia, or was under the influence of a mind-altering substance when enacting their will.
  3. Under most state laws, a person must be at least 18 to create a legally valid will. Some states make exceptions for minors who are married or in the military.
  4. If a person creates a valid will, and then several months later drafts another signed, dated, and witnessed will, the newer document will supersede the older one in a court of law.
  5. A will must be signed in the presence of at least two (more in some states) witnesses. Often, those witnesses must not be named as beneficiaries in the will.

These are just some of the reasons behind everyday estate disputes. Are you considering the possibility of contesting a relative or partner’s will? A St. Louis estate planning lawyer from Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., can help. Fill out our contact form here to schedule your free legal consultation today.

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