Passing on to the next life may be a terrifying thought for some. However, a person who prepares for the worst must equip themselves with the right legal documents to protect their estate. Although there’s no permanent way to prevent your will from being contested, familiarising yourself with the rules about will disputes can help you prepare for them in the future.
Listing down who can contest a will
The simplest way to protect a will is by writing down the reasons that a third party may contest its probate. Although it sounds simple enough to do, there are many caveats that a person should take into consideration when safeguarding their will.
The first defence you should have on your will is to give valid reasoning on why a person or party isn’t in it in the first place. If a person wants to contest your will, they first need to prove that they are eligible to prove their claim.
States and territories have different considerations on who can be an eligible person to contest a will’s contents. As such, a person must first prove they’re a resident of the state or territory that handles the deceased’s assets.
These individuals are usually the deceased’s current or former spouse, child, grandchild, or registered dependent or caring partner. The person who wants to contest the legality of the document must prove that the deceased had a responsibility to support their lifestyle during the deceased’s lifetime. Otherwise, the court may not accept their claim.
Reasons for contesting your will
The grounds for contesting a will are as follows:
- If there is evidence of tampering or improper execution of the will.
- If there is evidence of a more recent will from the deceased.
- If there is evidence of another person who maliciously influenced the deceased in writing the will.
- If there is evidence that the deceased lacked the mental capacity and understanding to write a will.
- If there are no proper provisions to the family members and dependents on the document.
The court’s policies in protecting your will
Most states and territories limit the challenging of a will within six months after probate. However, the court may allow late contests, depending on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the deceased’s estate will handle any court fees incurred in challenging a will, not the person contesting.
The court authorizes the executor’s commission in handling the deceased’s estate. Because of this, their conduct in handling the estate must be fair and neutral. If there are any signs of misconduct or irregularities, the court may refuse their participation. If negligence is due to honest mistakes, the commission may remain unless it’s a significant portion of the will’s guidelines.
Language plays an essential role in keeping a safe and secure will. If you’re specific with the wording on your assets’ distribution, you can minimise disputes as your will goes through probate. The more precise you are, the less likely issues with misunderstandings or challenges to its validity will arise. Our wills and estate lawyers in Springfield Lake can ensure that your will goes smoothly after your passing. Schedule an appointment with us today so that we can go over how to prepare your estate’s future