When can you contest a will?

I am an adopted child; my adoptive mother passed away from breast cancer about 10 years ago when I was 13. I have a stepbrother and stepsister who are both older than me. My grandfather died recently, my adoptive mother’s father, and his Will leaves a fractional portion to all his children, 5 total, all living except my adoptive mother. Since my adoptive mother passed, his Will specifically leaves her portion to my stepbrother and stepsister and 1/2 each of her portion of his estate and by name omits me from any inheritance from his estate. Can I challenge this? My grandfather and I had a very good relationship and this doesn’t seem to

Asked on November 27, 2018 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can try to challenge it, but be aware that regardless of the quality of your relationship with your grandfather, he would have had a perfect right to exclude you or your mother from the will or inheritance. To win the challenge, you would have to prove--with evidence--one or more of the following:
1) The will was not properly signed or witnessed and so is not valid: generally, it would had to have been signed by your grandfather in front of two witnesses, who each then signed it, too
2) Your grandfather was not mentally competent when he made the will.
3) Your grandfather made the will under duress or was coerced to make it.
4) Your grandfather was tricked into making it in some way.
If you can't show one of the above, you cannot effectively challenge the will. If you want to explore a challenge, consult with a probate law attorney.


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