Drafting a will is one of the best ways to be certain your assets end up where you want them to go. Further, if someone in your life dies with a will in place, you do not have to second-guess his or her wishes. Still, not all wills are perfect. Sometimes, contesting a will in court is the best way to protect your loved one’s final decisions.
Before you decide to challenge someone’s will, though, you must determine if you have legal standing. Put simply, standing means you have a legally recognized interest in the outcome of the case. Unfortunately, not everyone in Connecticut has standing to contest a will. On the contrary, typically only those who are heirs at law can challenge the validity of a will. Here are four situations when contesting a will probably makes sense.
1. Legal requirements
For wills to be valid in Connecticut, they must meet certain legal requirements. For example, the drafter of the will must sign it. If your loved one did not comply with probate laws, you may be able to attack the will’s validity successfully.
2. Mental capacity
As people age, they often lose the ability to make financial and other decisions. Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological disorders may affect mental capacity. If your loved one wrote a will without having the requisite mental capacity, the will may be invalid.
If someone tricked your loved one into signing a will, the will may not be legally valid. That is, someone may have told your loved one that he or she was signing something else or otherwise engaged in fraud. If you suspect fraud, you may need to investigate whether your loved one knowingly executed the will.
4. Undue influence
Connecticut law provides wide latitude to those who wish to dispose of their property after death. Still, if your loved one was under undue influence, the will may not reflect his or her true wishes. Unfortunately, the elderly are often more susceptible to undue influence. Therefore, you must look carefully at caretakers, family members and others who may be in a position to unduly influence your loved one.
Wills should solve more problems than they create. Nonetheless, not all wills have legal validity. If you think your loved one’s situation falls into any of the above categories, you may need to determine if you have legal standing to contest the will.