When Should You Contest a Will?

When a person's will is read, it's not unusual for some persons to be very disappointed with what it contains, but this doesn't mean they necessarily have legal grounds to have that will changed by the courts. On the other hand, a will isn't always the final say over how an estate or property will be passed on to others, as it can be contested in a court of law. While only an attorney can tell you if you have legal grounds to contest a certain will, note a few times when you might want to at least consult with an attorney about a will in question:

Relationships and financial hardship

A person typically has the right to leave their estate to whomever they choose, in any manner they choose; this means they can divide their estate between relatives, friends, charities, political parties, and the like, or leave their entire estate to just one person. However, if you had a close personal relationship to the deceased, and may be facing a financial hardship because of being left out of a will, the courts may reconsider that person's instructions. You may be entitled to a portion of that estate if the courts find that you would have sufficient and legitimate financial hardship without an inheritance, but this would be at the court's discretion and according to your reasons for the hardship and your relationship with the deceased.

The will is unclear

A will that is unclear may be contested so that the courts can discern the actual wishes of the deceased. As an example, a man who was married and divorced twice may say that he is leaving his estate to his "wife," without indicating to which former spouse he is referring. Both or one of those women may contest the will, to have a court decision on the matter.

There may also be properties that are not mentioned in the will, and which can make it somewhat ambiguous. For example, a will might include a detailed list of real estate that the deceased owned, and who would inherit each parcel of property. However, the will may omit property that the deceased purchased after the will was written, and which he or she forgot to include in that detailed list. As their instructions for that particular property are unclear, the will might be contested by a family member or executor of the will, and the courts would then decide who would inherit that property in particular.

Contact conveyancing services for more information and assistance.