When a loved one dies, the distribution of that person’s assets can become a highly emotional and contentious topic. A will is designed to implement the decedent’s final wishes, but in some cases, fraud, coercion and ulterior motives can make those wishes the subject of dispute. There are certain circumstances under which you may challenge a will. If you believe someone has interfered with a loved one’s final wishes, you should consult a Moreno Valley estate planning lawyer to discuss your options.
- Lack of capacity. A will may be contested on the grounds that at the time the will was executed, the person did not have the capacity to understand what he or she was doing in executing the will, to understand the nature or situation of his or her property or to understand his or her relationships to living relatives. If, at the time the will was executed, the person suffered from dementia, or a mental condition causing delusions or hallucinations, his or her capacity may be called into question.
- Undue influence. If you believe your family member did not make the will out of his or her free choice, but was instead improperly influenced or coerced by another individual, especially if that person benefitted disproportionately from the will, you may be able to contest a will on these grounds. Under the law, consent is not valid when obtained under duress, menace or unfair advantage.
- Fraud, forgery, or other invalidating factors. If you believe a family member or other individual has fabricated, changed, forged or otherwise manipulated any part of the will, you may have grounds to contest it as invalid. Similarly, if the will was not executed properly, it may not hold up to legal challenges.
You may have suspicions about a loved one’s will, but proving them in a probate dispute can be difficult. It is important to have an experienced Temecula estate planning attorney review the evidence before you proceed with a legal challenge. The attorneys at Angeloff, Angeloff and Levine can help you through the process