A will is an invaluable part of any estate plan. As you’ve worked so hard for your savings and assets, you want to be assured that they go to the right people if something happens to you. A will can offer you this reassurance.
Of course, this only goes to plan if the will is legally valid. Should you become incapacitated and your will does not hold up to legal scrutiny, it can be contested by interested parties. Outlined below are some of the more common reasons why wills are challenged.
A lack of capacity
A testator must satisfy two types of capacity before they can legally draft a will. Firstly, they must be of sound mind, meaning that they fully understand the implications of the document. In Washington, the testator must also be at least 18 years old.
If the testator did not satisfy the legal elements of drafting a will, then the will can be challenged on this basis. Certain problems also arise if the testator is found not to be of sound mind.
Undue influence and manipulation
Estate planning applies to individuals from all walks of life but it is often a top priority for the elderly or afflicted. As long as the individual is fully aware of the terms of the document, then the will is likely to hold up. The problem is that vulnerable people can be more susceptible to undue influence. In other words, they may be pushed into creating or modifying a will that benefits someone else rather than the people they had originally intended. If evidence of such activity comes to light then it is likely to provoke a will contest.
There are various reasons why a will might be contested and this is something you really want to avoid. To help ensure that your will is watertight, it’s advisable to seek some legal guidance when carrying out your estate planning activities.