When a person passes away and they have a will that outlines the execution of their estate, that document must pass through probate. However, in Nevada, the will may be contested prior to probate by any person, and the process of contesting and defending the document is outlined in Chapter 137 of the state statutes.
When a person files to contest a will, they must offer written grounds of opposition to stop the estate from going to probate. When this filing is completed, those who have interest in the execution of the will must be notified of the action. If the interested parties choose to defend the will, the case is handled according to the Nevada rules of Civil Procedure as it applies to any civil action; the person who is contesting the will is considered the plaintiff, and the other party is the considered the defendant.
When the action is taken to before the courts, it can either be tried by a judge or tried by a jury at the request of one of the involved parties. The entity that requested the jury must front the cost of the proceedings. During the trial, any testimony regarding the declarations of a testator must be related to the testator’s state of mind and competency. There might also be testimony regarding allegations of duress and undue influence.
The procedure for contesting a will or defending such a document from another party can be complicated. However, those who have questions about the process might benefit from discussing the issue with an estate planning attorney. That attorney may have experience with similar cases and may be able to provide a client with advice and representation.
Source: Nevada Revised Statues, “Chapter 137 – Contests of Wills“, October 13, 2014