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Challenging a will: Factors to consider

Some people discuss the contents of their estate plan with their loved ones before they pass away. This prepares everyone for what is going to happen when the person dies. There is a chance that knowing the contents of the plan might lead to issues after the death if things have changed.

People don't usually plan to contest a will. However, there are times when this might be necessary. There are several things to consider before you take this step so ensure that you have a plan in order.

Reasons to contest a will

In order to contest a will, you have to have a legitimate reason and a valid interest in the will. Meeting these conditions can be difficult so think carefully about these points when you are deciding on a course of action.

Some reasons to challenge a will include undue influence, forgery, fraud, altered testamentary capacity and lack of witnesses. Another possibility is that the will wasn't done in the proper jurisdiction. A will must be valid in the location of the creator's permanent residence.

If you want to file a will contest, you need to either be named in the will or named in a previous version of the will. It is also possible for you to file if you are a person on the intestate succession order set by the state.

Impact on the family dynamics

Another consideration is the impact on family dynamics. Contesting a will has the potential to rip a family apart because it might pit one person against another. While it is possible for this to be overcome eventually, there are cases in which the rift is permanent. Sometimes, families can come to an agreement about the potential contest, which might help to mend the relationship.

Challenging a will is a costly and time-consuming process that should be done when it is necessary to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. It is best to work with someone who is familiar with this type of probate issue so that you know your options and how each one might impact you, the other heirs and the estate.

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