Only those with legal standing can contest a will or trust

When you write a will or create a trust, you need to understand that people still have a right to contest your documents. Fortunately, only those who have legal standing may do so. That includes people such as disadvantaged or disinherited heirs or beneficiaries. Without standing, a person can't file a lawsuit, helping prevent frivolous and expensive court dates.

In some states, you can have your will and trusts validated before you pass away. Several states including Delaware, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, North Dakota, Alaska and Arkansas, allow for pre-death validations. Usually, only residents may use this technique, but sometimes, nonresidents are allowed to do so as well. If you can get a pre-death validation, it limits or eliminates the chance of challenges against a will or trust. It may be worth looking into if you live close to a state where it's allowed or have beneficiaries in that state.

A person who wants to contest a will also has to have a good reason for doing so. For instance, he or she may believe the will or trust wasn't signed by his or her loved one. Another case could come up if the person who signed the will was influenced before death, making changes that affected the beneficiaries. Finally, if the person who signed the will lacked understanding to do so, then he or she may not have been legally able to enter into a contract.

Our website has more on wills, trusts and estate planning. You can defend yourself and make sure your will and trust is legally binding.

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