Contesting A Will: Who Is Allowed To Make A Challenge?

Challenging a will is a difficult topic. It inherently involves an emotionally divisive act that can upset families. However, there are plenty of cases where it is necessary. What many people often wonder, though, is whether or not they even have the ability to challenge a will. Before we go any further, it is important to note that most wills go through as they are because judges are unwilling to rule on and change a person's last wishes.

However, there are cases where fraud, illegal provisions, or mistakes in the process of making the will that can lead to someone challenging the legality of the will. Who can do this?

The person must have "standing." This varies from state to state, but in general, in order to have "standing" you must be an interested party that has a legitimate claim to make in regards to the grantor's estate. If you are named in the will, you have standing. If you aren't named in the will but would stand to inherit something in the case that the will is invalid, then you have standing.

Once you have standing, it depends what type of person you are. Beneficiaries and heirs obviously have the ability to challenge a will. Minors can also challenge the will, though that usually isn't allowed until they reach the age of 18. "No contest" clauses are also a reason to challenge a will. They usually do not hold up under legal scrutiny, but that doesn't mean it is a guarantee that a challenge of a no contest clause will be successful.

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