Challenging the wishes of a will is possible if you suspect that undue influence was involved in writing it. Undue influence is when one person persuades another against their better judgment. These cases may arise by violent or psychological means that are subtle in nature. A family member who’s been influenced while writing their will may not even know it. In these cases, Nevada residents have the right to contest a will to initiate a public investigation. Here’s how.
Probate: where the legal process begins
Your right to make claims against a will is upheld within a probate trial. Probate is a civil court proceeding that administers an estate once the estate’s owner, who is the decedent, dies. If you’ve already learned about someone’s will through court, then the judge presiding over the case will eventually decide on a succession plan. Regardless of the will, complaints in court are factored into the judge’s decision. This includes any suspicions you have of a will’s validity.
Common reasons to contest a will
To contest a will isn’t just to oppose its wishes. A Will sometimes needs to be revised to remove mistakes. Ensuring that a court understands the wishes of a decedent is always the objective. A will contest, therefore, is another step in clarifying the deceased’s exact intentions. When probate hearings publicize a will, you’ll find these common reasons for disputes:
• Claims against the decedent’s mental health
• Inequitable inheritances among heirs
• Forgery and other cases of fraud
• Assets that were lost in a prior divorce
• Issues with formatting, grammar, or signatures
Undue influence and your loved ones
Undue influence often comes from someone close to the person now deceased. Be it mental or medical, influencing someone against their will is an act that all judges take seriously. Vulnerability, assisted authority and tactical manipulation are factors behind undue influence.
Determining the actual wishes of a will is about what a decedent was experiencing while estate planning. Grief, retribution and even sour beliefs are reasons for someone to inequitably divide up their estate. If you believe that a will was written by the coercion of another, then you may want to challenge the document.