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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Who can challenge a will?

Not everyone can contest a will and it cannot be contested in all circumstances. If you want to contest a will, it is helpful to know who can contest it and when it can be contested. Because the laws concerning probate litigation can be complex and technical, it is helpful to be familiar with them. According to probate laws, only those who have an interest in the will can challenge it for valid legal reasons. Interested persons generally include children, heirs, devisees, spouses, creditors and others who may have a property right or claim against the estate.

There are generally three categories of people who can challenge a will: beneficiaries of a prior will, if there is a claim of multiple wills; beneficiaries of a subsequent will, if there is a claim of multiple wills; and those who claim there were intestate errors. The first consideration to evaluate when considering a will contest is if the party contesting the will has standing. To have standing to contest a will, the individual must be someone named on the face of the will, a beneficiary, or an individual who is not a beneficiary but who would inherit if the will were deemed invalid.

The process of contesting a will can be full of technical legal language and complexities. At the same time, a will contest can be important for a family member or other party that believes the estate of a loved one is not being administered properly. It can be helpful to be familiar with the different categories of parties who may be interested in a will, including beneficiaries and heirs, and to have trained guidance throughout the process when a will contest is being considered.

Will contests can be complicated, which is why parties wishing to contest a will should be thoroughly familiar with the process and know what to expect beforehand. The legal system provides important resources to help parties interested in a will and the distribution of an estate navigate the process.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Can Challenge a Will?," Accessed March 18, 2018

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