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Valid reasons to challenge a will

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2020 | Estate Planning

Pennsylvania law may allow you to challenge a will if you have reason to believe that it should be invalidated. However, you can’t challenge it simply because you don’t like its terms. Let’s take a closer look at when you are allowed to voice an objection to a deceased person’s last will and testament.

You suspect fraud or undue influence

If an individual was coerced into adding or removing someone from a will, it may invalidate the entire document. The document may also be thrown out if the testator wasn’t allowed to seek legal counsel before it went into effect. You will need to provide strong objective evidence of fraud or undue influence if you hope to have your challenge upheld by a judge.

The will doesn’t conform to state law

Many states require that the will is signed by two or more witnesses who are not listed as beneficiaries. In some cases, the document will need to be typed as opposed to handwritten or shared orally. Wills that are not notarized may not be recognized in some states. Typically, a will that is accompanied by notarized affidavits from those who witnessed its creation cannot be challenged.

Other errors occurred when creating the document

If a witness signed the will in the wrong place, it may be enough to invalidate it entirely. In the event that the will submitted to the court is not the most current version, it may be necessary to find the most recent version. Finally, a last will and testament may be thrown out if it was written before a divorce took place. In some cases, you can contest the terms of a will by filing a lawsuit against a beneficiary as opposed to a deceased person’s estate.

An estate planning attorney may be able to ensure that your will is structured in accordance with state law. This may minimize the chances of a legal challenge to your estate plan and thus avoid a prolonged probate proceeding.