Do You Have Sufficient Grounds to Contest a Will?
When a loved one dies, it’s possible that not everyone will be satisfied with the terms of the will. A will is a legal document that cannot be contested simply because it isn’t satisfactory to the heirs. In order to have a probate attorney contest the will, there must be sufficient grounds. In addition, heirs should note that it’s not possible to declare just one or two provisions invalid. Either the entire will is valid or not.
The individual lacked testamentary capacity.
Testamentary capacity is the ability to create a valid will. This means that the testator understands his or her assets, the entire will, and the effects of signing the will. It’s often thought that an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is automatically lacking in testamentary capacity. But actually, the courts will rule in favor of the capacity of an individual with cognitive disabilities as long as that individual was capable of understanding the nature of the will at the time of the signing. It can certainly be difficult, but not impossible to prove the lack of testamentary capacity.
The will wasn’t signed in accordance with state law.
Each state establishes their own requirements for the making of a valid last will and testament. In most states, it’s necessary for the testator to sign the document. But in Arizona, it’s possible for a proxy signer to complete this task, as long as it’s done under the testator’s direction in the presence of witnesses, such as a notary public. A valid will must also be signed by two witnesses who can attest that the will was drafted and signed by the testator in accordance with state law. If the signing of the will doesn’t meet these requirements, the will might be declared invalid.
If you have a question or concern about a probate matter, you can consult the experienced probate litigation attorneys at Mesch Clark Rothschild. You can reach our law office in Tucson at (520) 624-8886.