A last will and testament is a great estate planning tool that allows one to communicate his/her wishes and controls how his/her estate will be distributed after death. If a last will is in place, the distribution of an estate among the heirs become a less strenuous job.
However, at times, determining the validity of a will becomes necessary for a number of reasons. There are certain life events that revoke wills. And in order to to contest the validity of a will, you may need to pursue legal action.
Here are 4 reasons why a court may find a last will and testament invalid (but may not be limited to):
If the testator (the individual who prepares the will) was mentally incapacitated during the time the will was prepared, the court may declare the will invalid. Again, the court may rule out the will if the testator was a minor (less than 18 years) or under influence of alcohol/drugs at the time of preparation.
If you want to contest a will for lack of testamentary capacity, you have to prove that the decedent suffered from mental instability that left him/her unable to remember family members or caused to hold insane delusions about them.
There must be a certain number of witnesses (varies from state to state) present at the time of preparing the will and the witnesses must also sign the will. This constitutes that the testator wasn’t incapacitated at the time of drafting the will. Devoid of the same will eventually turn the will invalid.
If the court smells that there has been a forgery or fraud and the testator was forced to prepare the will against his or her wishes, the court will declare the will as invalid.
If it is proved that a person has fraudulently drafted a will by means of impersonation, the court will declare the will as invalid.
If the testator has created a number of wills during his/her lifetime, the one drafted and signed most recently will be considered as the controlling estate document, and the older versions will be deemed as invalid. However, this rule varies from state to state.
Whatever the reason might be behind the invalidity of the will, it’s your best interest to resolve the matter as soon as you can. If you believe a will to be invalid and your rights or interests are getting affected, you should take the issue to court without any delay.
Don’t miss out: Are you sure you’re not missing out anything in your will?