When someone you cared about passes away, and you learn that they didn’t leave behind a substantial inheritance as you had expected, or they even disinherited you, it’s natural that you’ll feel frustrated.
Such news can be shocking, especially if you believe there is a problem with the will. However, before you go to court to contest the will, it’s crucial that you ask yourself why you want to contest the will. Below are some of the potential legal grounds for contesting a will.
The decedent lacked testamentary capacity
A testator must be above 18 and be of sound mind and memory to make a will. This means they should be able to understand the nature of their property or possessions and what they intend to do with their estate.
The will wasn’t properly executed
A will is only valid in Washington if it is signed and witnessed by two or more people. The witnesses also have to sign the will. However, since the presence of witnesses is necessary to ensure the testator wasn’t pressured or coerced, beneficiaries in the will cannot act as witnesses. This is necessary because beneficiaries have an inherent interest in the will.
If another beneficiary coerced or influenced the testator to change the will in their favor, then you can contest the will. However, proving coercion is problematic because it often happens behind closed doors. But if you can get the evidence, you may have a chance of invalidating the will.
You may be able to challenge a will if you suspect fraudulent activities. For example, fraud may have occurred if the testator was tricked into disposing of their property contrary to their wishes.
A will may have a no-contest clause that may make you miss your entire inheritance if you fail in your pursuit. For this reason, consider seeking legal assistance to ensure you’re taking the proper steps.