What are the legal grounds for contesting a will?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2021 | Probate |

A will is a legal binding document that contains the wishes of a person for how their estate and assets should be handled. However, you cannot contest a will in Alabama simply due to disliking or disagreeing with its terms. There are certain criteria that do allow you to legally contest a will.

What are the legal reasons why you might be able to contest a will?

There are a few legal grounds for contesting a will. If the following apply at any point, a will can legally be contested:

The will wasn’t signed according to state laws: Like every other state in the country, Alabama has set laws that determine how a will can be signed. However, if you learn that the will was signed while the laws were not being followed, there is legal cause to contest it.
Lack of testamentary capacity: In order for a will to legally be signed by its creator, the person needs to have the testamentary capacity to do so. That means they understand the nature of the will and the value of their assets and estate. They must also understand who should inherit their assets and the effect of signing the will. If the individual lacks testamentary capacity, a will is not legally binding, which means it can be contested.
Undue influence: As per probate laws, if a person signed their will while undue influence was involved, it can be contested. Undue influence means there was a third party involved who may have pressured, abused or threatened the person into signing.
Fraud was involved: A will that was created through fraud can be contested as well. Often, fraud occurs when the testator is tricked into signing a document they are told is something other than a will.

What can you do if you want to contest a loved one’s will?

If you want to contest the will of a loved one due to any of these reasons, an attorney can help you. There may be an investigation into the details behind the creation and signing of the will to determine whether it’s valid.