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What are valid reasons to challenge a will?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Estate Planning

Wills are very important documents for Ohio to ensure that people’s property ends up with the loved ones that they want to have it. These are drafted during people’s lifetimes and not executed until after they die. At that time what happens to their wills is out of their hands. It must go through probate to settle the estate and ensure everything is distributed correctly.

During this process, beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of the estate can challenge the will if they do not believe that the will represents the decedent’s true wishes. It could be because they realize that they are receiving less than they expected or they may have been written out of a subsequent will after an initial will was executed earlier in the decedent’s life.

Legal arguments

To be successful in challenging a will, interested parties have a limited number of options for their arguments. One valid reason for invalidating a will is if there were technical problems with the document. For instance, it might not have the required signatures.

In certain cases, even if the will was drafted correctly and met all legal standards, interested parties may be able to challenge a will if the have reason to not trust that it represents the decedent’s true wishes. Interested parties could challenge a will by arguing that the decedent was not competent or lacked the capacity to make a will when they executed the will going through probate. They may also be able to argue that the decedent signed the will because of undue influence from new people in their lives. The will also could be the product of fraud. People may be able to show that someone else forged the decedent’s signature or other types of fraud.

In order to challenge a will in Ohio, it is not enough to simply be upset about not being included a will. There are many reasons that people leave out family members and that by itself is not enough. People need to be able to prove one of the type of legal errors or other reasons stated above in order to be successful. Proving the intentions of people who are no longer living can be difficult though. Experienced attorneys understand the process for challenging wills and may be able to guide one through the process.