grounds to contest a will

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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grounds to contest a will

I have left my property to a friend, but I have a sister and brother. My sister
is going to contest my will when I die. What are the grounds she can use to
contest my will?

Asked on February 5, 2018 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A person may leave his/her assets to anyone: that you left them to a friend not a relative is irrelevant. Here are the grounds to contest a will:
1) Incompetence: you were provably not mentally competent when you made the will.
2) Duress or coercion: you were forced to make it by illegal threats (of violence, blackmail, etc.).
3) Undue influence: you were disabled or houseband and a person upon whom you relied (e.g. a live-in caregiver) used their position of power over you to effectively "overpower" your will and get you to leave your estate to them or to someone they told you to leave it to.
4) Fraud: essentially, you were tricked into signing this will in some way (e.g. shown one will, then given a different one to sign; convinced that you had to leave assets to someone to pay off a relative's debt or save someone's life or for someone good-sounding, but false, reason).
5) Some defect in how the will was signed--e.g. did not have the proper number of witnesses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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