Probate Lawyer St. Peters, Missouri
A will challenge, or contest, is common during the probate process. Despite those involved having good intentions, and trying to remain civil following the death of a loved one, a probate lawyer St. Peters, Missouri trusts at The Legacy Law Center can tell you the chances of someone contesting a will is relatively high.
If at anytime a loved one disagrees with the way in which the estate is being divided, they can choose to challenge the will. The result is probate litigation which means the disagreement is brought to the court for a resolution.
As a probate lawyer serving St. Peters, Missouri, our firm frequently handles will challenges. Often this occurs in the beginning of the probate process, but in select cases, it is significantly after.
The Length of Time to Challenge a Will
The time you have to challenge a will, largely depends on how far along the process is. If the decedent recently died, the will can be contested immediately by filing an objection to the probate petition (which is the first step to probating a will). This objection should be filed before the probate hearing. If this step has passed, and the court accepted the will as being valid, you may have 120 days, depending on the state, from the date of the hearing to file a will challenge petition.
Common Reasons to Contest a Will
Our probate lawyers in St. Peters, Missouri help clients contest wills for many reasons, but the following are the four basic legal grounds to do so:
The will was not signed, or signed properly. A will must be signed by the testator and 1-2 witnesses (depending on the state). If the testator is unable to physically sign the will, he or she can ask someone to do it on behalf of them. This person does not count as one of the witnesses. Everyone who signs the will must have seen one another do it in order for it to be valid.
There is a question about how mentally capable the decedent was when the will was signed. If the testator lacked the ability to make a sound decision, or suffered from significant cognitive impairment, the will may not be found valid.
Undue influence is suspected. If is it believed that the testator was emotionally vulnerable and coerced into creating the will, or including certain provisions, it may be grounds for a will challenge.
The testator was fraudulently tricked into creating the will or including certain people in it. If it can be shown that the testator was tricked into signing a will, and it was not their intention to do so, it is grounds for legal action. A probate lawyer in St. Peters, Missouri can provide substantial support to you and in your family in this process.
Proving the above is often not easy to do, and the process of will contests is generally expensive. Even so, because there can be a lot at stake, many people choose to pursue legal action with the help of a probate lawyer for St. Peters, Missouri.
Turn to The Legacy Law Center for All Your Estate Planning Needs
If you believe a will to be suspicious, fraudulent, or otherwise invalid, it is important you take action as soon as possible. For a confidential, and free, consultation with a probate lawyer St. Peters, Missouri residents relies on, call The Legacy Law Center.