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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

3 things to know about contesting a will

Even the most carefully crafted wills can still run into legal issues after a loved one passes away. Whether it's due to hurt feelings by those left out of the will -- or legitimate invalidating concerns -- there are plenty of cases where Minnesota residents have wills that end up being disputed.

At the law firm of Rodney J. Mason, Ltd. we represents those involved in will contests. When contesting a will, we make sure all parties involved -- heirs, beneficiaries, family members and nonprofit charities -- understand their options for moving forward.

There are a number of different reasons for needing to contest a will. In this post, we hope to shed light on some aspects to these disputes and litigation:

Testamentary capacity is one of the more successful grounds for contesting

If there is reason to believe that the testator - the person who made the will -- lacked the mental capacity to truly understand the implications of their will when making it, there may be reason to contest. These cases typically involve dementia, insanity or claims that the person creating the will was under the influence at the time he or she made the will.

Fraud, forgery and undue influence are all valid reasons to contest a will

If there is reason to believe fraud, forgery or undue influence played a role, it is definitely time to contest. Undue influence -- another one of the more successful grounds for contesting -- usually means that the person creating the will was vulnerable and somehow manipulated into leaving assets to another person. Additionally, there are cases where there is question to who actually signed the will.

Two witnesses must be present to validate a will

In Minnesota, hand-written or oral wills are not valid. Two witness signatures must also be on the will for it to be valid. These witnesses must sign the will within a reasonable amount of time after the testator signs or acknowledges the signing of the will.

It is important to keep in mind that there are a number of different reasons for wanting to contest a will. Due to the legalities and sensitivity of these situations, it is important to have legal representation on your side that you know you can trust and who will be honest with you about the possible outcomes of a will contest.

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