Reasons Why An Estate May Be Contested

Estate Litigation Appeals Lawyer

A person cannot contest a will just because they don’t approve of the terms. Judges in particular won’t have much tolerance for contested claims that have no merit and were only intended to cause delay in distributing assets. Contesting a will can be a costly and lengthy process that necessitates hiring a legal professional for help. So, prior to someone plowing full speed ahead in haste to contest a will, they must be sure one or more of the following applies:

The decedent was affected by undue influence

Sadly, many elderly people get taken advantage of by those who have harmful intentions. A friend, relative, or other individual may earn the senior’s trust, and then influence them into making changes to an estate plan or finances for personal benefit. Those with mental or physical conditions are more susceptible to undue influence by another.

The decedent was not of a sound state of mind

Someone who has declining health may also have their mental function and reasoning suffer. A decedent that was not of a healthy state of mind may not have fully understood what they were doing. The health of the decedent will be a factor if an estate goes through litigation.

The will had not been updated as life events happened

Many people don’t realize that after writing an estate plan, the work is not yet over. In fact, you must revisit the plan every few years to make sure everything is still accurate, and if not, updating it as soon as possible. An estate plan that wasn’t changed based on the decedent’s current life may have their estate litigated.

There are many more reasons why an estate may be contested, leading to litigation and appeal issues. As an estate litigation appeals lawyer has seen before, sometimes people fail to write an estate plan at all or the estate plan isn’t clear and thus confuses beneficiaries, both of which can result in litigation.