what is a will contest?

The last will and testament provides for the distribution of an individual’s estate upon their passing. However, these documents are not entirely binding, and if certain circumstances occur, either a provision of the will or the will in its entirety may be challenged.  This challenge is call a Will Contest.

Challenging the will of the deceased does not have an unlimited time frame. As soon as the creator of the will has passed away, a challenge to the will may be issued. This must be filed before the first hearing for probate petition, during which the court discusses whether the will is, in fact, valid. If the will has already been deemed valid by a probate court, it may still be possible to file a petition to revoke will probate up to 120 days after the date of the hearing.

Grounds for Challenging a will

Challenging a Will is not an easy process.  You cannot challenge a Will simply because you're not happy with the amount that the Will says you are entitled to.  The laws differ from state to state, but generally you can challenge a will only under the following theories:

Lack of mental capacity;

Improper signing of the will;

Duress; and

Undue influence.

Each of these instances refers to a portion of or the entirety of the will be void due to circumstances surrounding the deceased. The will is invalid if the deceased did not know what s/he was signing or was not able to act on his or her own because of outside pressure or diminished mental capabilities.

Will Contests

The Kamerow Law Firm has litigated Will Contests in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.  We have extensive experience with these challenges.  Call us for a free consultation: (703) 370-8088.