What are the standing and grounds for challenging a will?

| May 21, 2021 | Estate Planning

After losing a loved one, a whirlwind of activity can happen. You will likely need to make funeral arrangements or at least attend the service. You will undoubtedly have much grief to work through. You may also need to assist with the closing your loved one’s estate. While you likely did not expect for these endeavors to go entirely smoothly, you probably did not anticipate possibly taking legal action against the estate. 

Probate litigation is not an unusual occurrence, especially if family members believe that something is not right with the decedent’s will. You may have an inkling that the information in the will submitted for probate is not what your loved one actually wanted. However, if you hope to take the matter to court to ensure that your family member’s true wishes are followed, you will need more than just an inkling. 

Standing and grounds 

With essentially any type of lawsuit, the person bringing a claim needs to have legal standing. This means that the person has a direct connection to the matter at hand and is not attempting to take frivolous legal action in a situation that they have no association with. In probate litigation cases, someone with legal standing could include: 

  • Beneficiaries named in an earlier version of the will 
  • Beneficiaries named in the current version of the will 
  • Heirs who would have inherited property had no will existed 

Even though you may fall into one of these categories, you still have work to do. You also need to have legal grounds, or a specific legal reason, for initiating litigation. These reasons could include: 

  • Believing someone unduly influenced or coerced your loved one into changing the will 
  • Believing that your loved one did not have the mental capacity to properly create a new will 
  • Believing that a newer version of the will exists 
  • Believing that the will does not comply with Nevada laws necessary to make it valid 
  • Believing the will does not have proper signatures or is missing information 

If you have evidence of any of these issues, you may have valid reason to move forward with a claim. 

Court proceedings 

Contesting a will and other probate litigation matters are not easy to address. You and any other applicable parties will need to follow court proceedings to handle the matter properly. This can be time consuming, but if you believe some wrongdoing has occurred, taking these steps may be worthwhile.