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Wills and Probate
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Can I Contest A Will

Can I Contest A Will

When many individuals write their wills, they want to know if the document will stand after they have passed away. Wills can be contested, but only on very specific grounds.

Who Has the Legal Right to Contest

There are certain individuals who do have a legal right to contest wills, including:

  • A person who is sufficiently connected to the will
  • Someone who has been injured because of the standing will
  • Someone who can be remedied by taking legal action against the will

Each state has different estate and probate laws, and judges do have final discretion to decide who and who does not have the right to contest wills, so this information should be taken in the broadest sense. To find out the specifics of estate and probate laws in your area, please contact a local estate planning lawyer.

In most instances, someone will contest a will if there was a previous will in existence that would benefit them more than the current will. The will with the most recent date is always enforced and considered to be the accurate will. For example, if I have a 2011 will that reads, "I hereby give my friend Buddy all of my shares in Microsoft," and then, I write another will in 2012 that reads, "I hereby give my friend Bella all of my shares in Microsoft," Bella will receive the Microsoft shares. Let's say Buddy decides to contest the will. He will then have to file with the probate court contesting the legality of the 2012 will.

Learn more about how to defend the contesting of a will.

Revoking An Earlier Will

One of the easiest ways to cut down on the confusion of numerous wills is to continually update your will and include language that contains instructions that specifically revoke, cancel, and annul every other will that you may have made in the past, even if the current will is the very first will that you have ever made. Then, burn all other copies of any previous wills, removing any doubt as to which one you want enforced.

Having a will prepared is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Make sure that you keep it updated, and destroy all earlier editions to reduce the likelihood that someone will contest your will.