Do you have any standing to contest a will?

Do you have any standing to contest a will?
Do you have any standing to contest a will?
William T. Corbett, JR.

If you ended up getting a reduced portion of an estate or even cut out of a will entirely, your first reaction may be to lash out and try to get the will invalidated.

Even if your reasons for frustration are valid, you cannot simply contest a will for no reason. It is important to understand the two crucial components that you must have to successfully contest a will.

Who has standing?

The Balance discusses what a person needs to contest a will. First, you must have standing. In this situation, a person with standing is someone who would have gained something from the estate in accordance with intestate succession if the will did not exist. This includes spouses, close relatives and so on.

It also includes debtors, former fiduciaries or executors, and former beneficiaries. If any of these individuals presented in a former version of the will but recently got cut out entirely or had their shares reduced, they have standing.

Proving cause

But simply having standing is not enough. You must also have cause. For example, consider a situation in which a deceased parent left behind three children, one of which they did not mention in the will. The third child must prove that they have cause for declaring the will invalid. For example, they must show that their parent lacked the mental capacity to make these legal decisions, such as if they suffered from dementia at the time of writing.

If you successfully challenge a will, the court will deem it invalid and throw it out. The division of estate will then proceed like it would if a will never existed.

Read Related Source: 5 reasons for a will update that you may not have considered

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