What Is The Basis For Challenging A Will In Nevada?
There are many reasons why a will might be contested. A successful challenge depends on the facts of the case and the skill of your legal counsel.
The law firm of Solomon Dwiggins Freer & Steadman has extensive experience drafting wills as well as litigating them. Those insights enable us to examine estate planning documents and gauge the viability of a will contest. We represent parties on all sides of these conflicts in cases throughout Nevada.
Grounds For Contesting A Will
A fraudulent or invalid will has major implications. The probate court can nullify a will or restore a prior will, as well as sanction bad actors. These are the most common reasons for challenging a person’s last will and testament:
Suspicions may arise when a person (testator) writes a will leaving everything to a certain individual or when a person radically changes their will later in life or as death approaches. A relative, caregiver or friend may connive their way into the person’s good graces to angle for an inheritance. They may isolate the person and alienate them from other family members. They may take advantage of the person’s declining mental health to convince them to alter the will in their favor.
Fraudulent procurement takes many forms. The scammer may trick the elderly or mentally frail person into signing a will or a codicil to an existing will. They may forge a new will and the testator’s signature. They might destroy the original will, which results in the estate being divided according to the Nevada laws of intestacy instead of the deceased’s intended heirs. Or they might feed the testator knowingly false information that convinces them to exclude others from the will.
A caregiver may coerce the testator into altering their will through threats or abuse.
LACK OF MENTAL CAPACITY
Due to declining mental faculties, the testator may have lacked the “sound mind” to execute a will or a change in their will. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia may not have fully understood what they were signing or the implications for other heirs.
Nevada statute dictates specific criteria for executing a will. For example, the will must be signed by the testator (or their authorized attendee) in the presence of two witnesses who are not in line to inherit. Any changes to the will, known as codicils, are subject to the same rules.
Do You Have Suspicions About A Will?
There is a statute of limitations for challenging a will. At the first hint that something is wrong, contact our attorneys to preserve your rights. We can investigate and advise you on whether you have standing and grounds to petition the court for legal remedy such as setting aside an invalid will.