Are You Preparing For A Will Contest?
Each individual has the right to make personal determinations on where their assets will go upon his or her death. Unfortunately, in some cases, these decisions come under fire after that individual has passed away. In many cases, these are sensitive family disputes that involve substantial inheritances. Regardless of the specifics in your matter, if you need to contest a will, or if you have been named as a defendant in a will contest matter, it is important to seek legal advice immediately.
How To Choose The Right Lawyer For A Will Contest Matter
There are numerous procedural nuances in a will contest case, and time is of the essence. It is critical to get an estate lawyer on your side at once. When you work with Worth, Magee & Fisher, P.C., we will begin protecting your interests right away. If you are the contestant, our first step is to file a “caveat” with the Register of Wills. This notifies the register not to accept the will to probate until a hearing can be held to address the contest issue. Will contests need to be handled by an experienced estate and probate lawyer who is familiar with the laws and procedures associated with will contests.
Our will contest matters are addressed by experienced attorney Eric Strauss. Attorney Strauss has more than 20 years of legal experience and a dedicated focus on estate law. He has helped many of our past clients bring and defend against will contests. You cannot challenge a will until after the testator has passed away. Our Allentown will contest lawyers can help you understand why.
When Can Someone Challenge A Will?
Though there are several legal theories to contest a will; the two most common are lack of capacity and undue influence:
- Lack of mental capacity: While these cases can be difficult to prove, they are not impossible. These matters involve a person who cannot understand information and make decisions for him or herself regarding a will. Examples would be someone with dementia or someone who has suffered a stroke and cannot communicate.
- Undue influence: This is when a trusted individual uses coercion or manipulation to make another person create or change a will. Undue influence can be proven in one of two ways — direct evidence, such as an eyewitness, or circumstantial/indirect evidence. Since direct evidence is often difficult to find, the contestant (the person challenging the will) needs to first show that the testator was of weakened intellect. Second, he or she needs to establish that the testator was in a confidential relationship with and placed trust in another person (such as a caretaker or power of attorney). And third, the testator needs to prove that this trusted individual benefited from the change of the will.
Get The Help You Need In Your Will Contest Matter
It is important to note that not just anyone can contest a will. To do so, you need to show that you would have inherited under a prior version of the will, or that the deceased died without a will. Learn more about your legal position by contacting our law firm. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 610-674-0505 or toll-free at 866-490-5954. You can also use our online contact form.