Why a will may be challenged

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2015 | Wills

Nevada residents have likely read salacious media stories concerning the families of deceased celebrities battling over their inheritances. These accounts often center on accusations that the deceased individual’s last will and testament should be ruled invalid for some reason, but the judges hearing such arguments are often difficult to convince. A will is viewed as the last wishes of the testator, and they withstand the scrutiny of probate the vast majority of the time.

Efforts to contest a will may seek to have the entire document or only specific clauses set aside. Those making these arguments often maintain that the testator was not of sound mind or was acting under duress or undue influence when they wrote and signed the will. Claims regarding testamentary capacity may also be made if the testator wrote their will before they reached the age of 18 or while they were struggling with substance abuse problems.

Wills may be contested successfully if it can be shown that they are forgeries, and even legitimate wills must contain certain information if they are to avoid issues during probate. The will should generally contain the names of the testator and the individual who will act as the executor of the estate as well as at least one substantive clause such as a bequest.

Estate planning attorneys may be able to help their clients to avoid their wills being contested by making sure that they are properly dated and witnessed by two or more people. Attorneys will also likely advise their clients to regularly revisit the provisions of their wills and destroy any copies of earlier documents when changes are called for.