Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Contest a Will


A will is a document used to determine where an individual's assets will go upon their death. This also includes custody of any minor children. Wills can be contested in the event family members do not agree on how property and custody issues have been handled. If you feel strongly that a will does not reflect the wishes of your loved one you will want to contest.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You'll Need

  • A qualified estate planning attorney
  • An understanding of the laws in your state as to your right to contest



Step One

Research laws regarding wills and probate to find out what your rights to contest are. These laws vary from state to state.

Step Two

Talk with family members about the terms of the will. Find out if others have the same questions or concerns and consult with an attorney together.

Step Three

Contact an estate planning attorney to go over the will with you. It does not have to be the same attorney that drafted the original document.

Step Four

Determine with your attorney on what grounds you are contesting. A person having a will drawn up must be of sound mind at the time.

Step Five

Decide if you feel there was fraud involved in the will. If the will is very far from what you feel it should be, it is possible your loved one was misled.

Step Six

Be sure the will that is being carried out is the most up to date will of your loved one. The most recent will is the one that is legally binding.

Step Seven

Make a decision as to how much you will spend to contest the will. This process is long and detailed. You should decide if the outcome will be worth the fight.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to contest a will, or begin the process is through a qualified estate planning attorney. This person will be able to give you all the help you need right from the start.
  • Understand the risks to family relationships before contesting a will. Families can be easily torn apart when fighting over money and property.

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