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What you need to know about contesting a will

A will is a special type of legal document because it speaks on behalf of a person that has passed away. The will states, among other things, who is entitled to that person's property and other assets.

Contesting a will can be a lengthy process because the person who wrote it is not alive to make things clear. You may want to contest a will because you think it is out-of-date, or does not reflect that person's final wishes. This blog will serve as a brief overview into what actions should be taken before contesting a will.

Find out whether you have a standing to contest the will

You must have legal standing to contest a will - not everyone can do it. You must be in a position whereby you will be personally affected by the outcome of the case. Therefore, you must either be an heir to the state or a beneficiary within the existing will.

Do you have enough time to file the will contest?

Different state laws give varying requirements on what the time limit is to contest a will. This could be anything from a few days to a few weeks after the time of the person's death. Make sure that you have enough time to file.

Do you have grounds to contest the will?

You must have grounds to contest the will. This might be that the will wasn't correctly signed, the decedent was not mentally competent or was manipulated, or that the will was subject to fraud. Legal guidance can prove invaluable to ensure a smooth transition after you pass on. You have doubtless heard of all the conflict and and fighting that can erupt, even among families who had been close-knit, when there is lack of clarity in a will with respect to significant sums of money and/or assets.

Source: The Balance, "How to contest a will," Julie Garber, accessed Aug. 14, 2017

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