If someone you love recently died and they had an estate plan, you obviously want to uphold their wishes. However, there are numerous circumstances that might make you suspect that there is something wrong with the will or other documents.
The desire to uphold someone’s legacy does not mean that you have to remain quiet through probate proceedings. There are certain situations in which you may need to challenge the documents produced in probate court to truly achieve someone’s wishes.
When might you have grounds to contest someone’s will or other estate plan documents?
When you suspect undue influence
If you believe that a third party, like a family member or a professional caregiver, pressured or coerced your loved one into changing their estate plan, you could show proof of their relationship and the changes to the estate plan. The courts may agree that an outside party had undue influence on them.
If you believe your loved one lacked capacity
If your loved one created an estate plan at a point in their life when they already had a diagnosis of dementia, they may have lacked the legal capacity to create binding documents. Medical records and testimony from witnesses could help you prove that someone was not in the right state of mind to create an estate plan at the time that they drafted their documents.
When you suspect fraud
Whether you think that someone altered the documents or tricked your loved one into signing them, you may have reason to think that something fraudulent occurred. If you have evidence that will convince the courts, you may be able to successfully contest the estate plan based on your suspicions of fraud.
Learning more about when you can challenge someone’s testamentary documents can help you decide if you need to pursue probate litigation.