5 Common Reasons Why Wills Are Contested In Court

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A will is a document, usually a handwritten letter or legal document, that specifies how someone wants their property and assets to be distributed after death. A typical will dictates that some personal property is given to one person and another to another. In most cases, a will also states who will take care of the estate. A will may also specify what needs to be done with any real or personal property not covered by the inheritance.

Wills are often contested in court because most people don’t take that final step of putting their wishes to paper. Instead, they assume that everyone will know what they want and how much of their estate will be distributed to each person. Often, these assumptions are not well-founded, especially for elderly persons in nursing homes. If a person has a power of attorney for another, they can usually access that person’s financial records. If that information is unavailable, the next of kin or family members are often asked to provide the documents. Without a will, the property is distributed according to state law. So, what are the common reasons why wills are contested in court? Here’s a breakdown of some instances:


  1. Lack Of Testamentary Capacity:

Testamentary capacity refers to the mental ability of a person. It’s important to note that this is a serious issue, and it may be used as a reason to contest a will. Testamentary capacity is often misunderstood by judges and people who are contesting wills. This can lead to the important decisions of whether a person should have custody or guardianship of someone. It’s also important to note that testamentary capacity is not related only to near-death experiences or the problems that people may encounter when they’re confused. It’s an issue that judges take very seriously because they know of the elderly who are so distraught and mentally incapacitated when they leave hospital wards that they make simple mistakes when signing their wills.


  1. Lack Of Full Understanding To Comprehend And Approve The Will’s Contents:

Intentions are an important aspect of wills. They are not only of some significance when a person is signing it but also in the fullness of time. If someone doesn’t know what’s in the will, that person cannot enforce it. This can be an issue with elderly persons who haven’t had any training in estate planning and who may not have a clear understanding of how their wills should work in real life rather than how they think they should work.


  1. Failure To Comply With Formalities:

In most cases, the legal requirements for testaments to be valid must be complied with. This is so that people are assured that the will is legally binding and valid. Some of these requirements are pretty straightforward, but in other cases, there can be some complex legal rules and regulations that may have to be complied in order for a will to be considered as valid. For example, there may be legal formalities that have to take place before a will can be endorsed. There may also be requirements before the will can be made public so that people know it’s been signed. If a person hasn’t complied with any of these formalities, they may not have their will considered valid or even an effective will.


  1. Fraud, Forgery, And Undue Influence:

A will can be considered invalid if it is not a free and voluntary act of the testator. This means that it must have been obtained through fraud, forged documents or under undue influence. In some cases, retired people may not be allowed to make a will because they are at risk of undue influence. If a person has any restrictions on what they can do when signing their will, especially if they are elderly and alone in their home, these legal requirements must be complied with before making a legal will.


  1. Financial Maintenance:

Sometimes, a person may be in a situation where they cannot pay for the necessary legal costs that come with contesting a will. This may put a person at a disadvantage because if they cannot contest the will, their assets are automatically distributed according to state law. This can make it so elderly persons cannot rely on their assets to meet their daily needs.



When contesting wills, there are many reasons why a person may not want to respect the wishes of someone who has passed away. In some cases, people have valid reasons for contesting wills, but in other instances, they may not. All of these reasons and more need to be taken into consideration before a person can contest a will.

If you need help establishing a valid will, consult a wills attorney by referring to this link from a law firm that has been helping clients create wills for over 20 years.


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