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By: Scott Grossman on October 16th, 2016

Contesting an Unfair Will

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When a loved one passes away and leaves behind a will, it is sometimes shocking to the survivors to see who was chosen to receive the assets of the estate. If the terms of the will seem unfair, you may feel blindsided and upset. A seemingly unfair will can potentially be challenged in court if there is justification for deeming the will invalid. For example, if the will was written as a result of undue influence or fraud, a will contest may be successful.

What situations may warrant a will contest when the will is unfair? The following is an overview:

Situations Where an Unfair Will May Be Worth Contesting

  1. Your loved one did not seem mentally competent in the time shortly before he or she passed. In addition, his or her will was either signed or updated during this period. Strengthen your case by producing medical records from when the will was signed that question their mental state.
  2. The will was drafted and executed without the assistance of a lawyer. Here, there’s a higher possibility the will wasn’t drafted or executed in conformance with the laws of the state.
  3. The signature on the will does not look like your loved one’s signature. If a will was not signed by your loved one or under false pretenses, you may have grounds to challenge its validity.
  4. Your loved one changed his or her will shortly before passing away, after a long term health problem. Chances are they were vulnerable to influence or making a mistake when the will was re-written. This is especially true if your loved one depended on care providers and changes to the will benefit them.
  5. Your loved one’s will is not consistent with his or her beneficiary designations. For example, your loved one may have had two retirement accounts and a life insurance policy. Here they all named each of his or her children as equal beneficiaries. Now, if the will named only one child but excluding others, this is inconsistent. This may warrant further investigation to determine whether the will is worth contesting.
  6. You loved one’s will seems to exclude you accidentally. For example, if your parent named all of your siblings, and the will was written before you were born, it’s possible that you were excluded unintentionally. Most wills are written using broad terms to accommodate for this type of situation.