Contesting a will: Know when to speak up

There are times when you may wish to contest a will. For instance, if you believe your siblings had undue influence on your mom or dad before his or her death, you may wish to contest the changes that were made to the will before your mother or father's passing.

The elderly are sometimes easily influenced, especially if they have disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It could be easy for someone to put pressure on the individual to sign a document that he or she does not understand or would not otherwise sign.

Nagging for changes or threatening an individual if he or she doesn't change a will isn't enough to be considered undue influence. You'll need to show that someone held the individual against his or her will or forced a signature to defend your allegations.

Is it easy to show that your loved one was unduly influenced?

It is hard to show that someone was unduly influenced. You may have a better chance of contesting the will if you can show your loved one already had a lack of testamentary capacity at the time the changes were made. For instance, if you have a medical diagnosis of acute dementia for your mother or father at a date before the new will's signatures, you could prove that your loved one could not have been signing the will in the correct state of mind.

Your attorney can help you present evidence of this problem if it arises, so you can show that your loved one was taken advantage of and that the will should not be binding.

Source: The Balance, "What Are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?," Julie Garber, accessed Oct. 11, 2017

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