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Can I challenge a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2020 | Probate |

In the event that a relative of yours has recently died, it is natural to consider contesting the will if you are not happy with it. However, it is important to understand who has the right to challenge a will and who does not. 

One of the very first laws of probate is that only “interested persons” can actually challenge a will. According to FindLaw, interested persons include spouses, children, or anybody else deemed to have a claim against the estate in question. 

What is “standing?” 
To contest a will you must prove that you have standing to do so. This means that you are an individual who is either named on the will as a beneficiary, or you are a person who would be a beneficiary in the event that no will was in place. This often requires proving that you would have gotten something of value in the event that the will was not there or under a previous version of the will. 
What if the will is “no-contest?” 

Some wills come with a no-contest clause as part of them. Essentially, this sort of clause attempts to permanently disinherit somebody. Usually it takes the form of trying to disincentivize beneficiaries from challenging the will. These sorts of clauses are usually set up to where if a beneficiary attempts to challenge the will and fails, the law will then disinherit that beneficiary. 
In the majority of cases, no-contest clauses can be challenged under the law. Most of the time they are not enforceable. In the event that a person has proper standing to challenge a will, they can generally challenge the will whether there is a no-contest clause in existence or not.