The death of a parent can be a very stressful time in the life of siblings. Unfortunately, after a parent passes away, disagreements over finances can cause bad blood.
It is not uncommon for a sibling to contest a will if they feel slighted or if there is some other issue. If you find yourself in that situation, you and the other siblings may need the help of an inheritance recovery attorney.
What Is A Contested Will?
According to probate law, wills can only legally be contested by a spouse, children, or someone else already listed in the will. These individuals have the option of alerting the court to a perceived problem with the intention.
A sibling cannot have a will overturned for frivolous reasons such as feeling left out or being mad at the other siblings. Will contests have to be done during probate, and there has to be a valid legal question regarding the process.
There are four legal reasons why a will can be contested:
The signing and witnessing of the will – If there is no witness or if there is a question as to whether or not the signature is legitimate, it can be contested on those grounds.
The parent’s mental capacity at the time of signing – This is the most common reason for contesting the will. Every state has a different standard. However, if there is some question about the parent’s mental capacity, the will may be able to be contested.
Claims of fraud – This can take place when an individual has the person sign the will under pretenses. For instance, the will could be doctored, or it may not even be the will, but the person is led to believe it is the will they are signing.
Under the influence – If the parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they sign the will, this could be a reason to contest it.
A sibling who contests the will should know that it can be a long, drawn-out process. Most of the time, the cases have no merit. If the contesting of the will has value, the entire will can be tossed out. If that is the case, the court may defer to an earlier will that was drawn up. The court could also distribute the assets according to state law.
Siblings are advised to try and work through their problems. Bickering and in-fighting serve no purpose. All it does is delay the process and deepen the rifts. By the time this is finished, you may well have eaten up a good portion of the assets through legal fees.
But if the situation arises where a sibling decides to challenge the will, you should reach out to an inheritance recovery attorney as soon as possible. They will help you understand your rights under your state’s law. Don’t delay. Call and get a free consultation.