Wot to do when someone is contesting a will..

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2017

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Wot to do when someone is contesting a will..

My father and stepmother
made the same will. And now
the stepbrothers are
challenging the will. My
father and stepmother have
passed away.

Asked on December 28, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You retain an attorney to help you, assuming there is enough money at stake to justify hiring a lawyer; if not, you respond to the court papers (e.g. the complaint and/or any motion papers) yourself, within the indicated time frame, then show up  in court when required. The burden is on them to prove that there is one of only a limited number of reasons why the will is not valid, such as--
1) Lack of mental capacity: the person who made the will was not mentally competent when he/she made it.
2) Coercion or duress: the person was forced to make the will.
3) Undue influence: similar to the above, but someone who had a great deal of power over the testator (person making the will) convinced him or her to make it by using that position of power--most often comes into play when a live-in care-giver uses their power over a disabled person to unfairly or unreasonably influence what they do.
4) Fraud or forgery: the will signed is not the one the person intended to so sign.
5) Not properly signed or witnessed.
The person making the challenge has to prove one or more of the above; if they can't, the challenge fails. Anyone seeking to support or uphold the will can present evidence countering any evidence trying to tear down the will.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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