As a general rule of thumb, the details listed in a written will are the guidelines probate courts use when deciding how to manage the distribution of an estate. But even if the deceased’s requests are in writing, there are times when family members challenge the will.
Judge’s Role When a Will is Challenged
A spouse is the most common person to challenge a will, but other interested parties can also be part of this process. For example, the challenge might be focused on whether the person was mentally fit to write and sign the most recent version of this document.
A judge oversees the process to determine if the person was of sound mind at the time the will was written. A variety of factors need to be evaluated, which is why it can be helpful to work with an experienced legal team to build your case.
The individual challenging a will might argue that the deceased didn’t understand who will receive the asset or the value of that item. Or, the argument might be based on influence or fraud from another person.
Ensuring a Will is Held Up in Court
You can do a few things to make sure your will is held up in court. Not only is it important to work with an experienced attorney for assistance, but the document must also be signed and dated by two witnesses – who must be of a sound mind. While it isn’t required to have a handwritten will signed by witnesses, it can be helpful to have two people verifying the validity of the document and the person’s state of mind.
Be proactive to ensure the terms of your will can be upheld in court. When an estate planning attorney reviews these details, you can have the peace of mind to know that the components of your plan match state law. At the same time, it can also be helpful to have legal support when the assets are distributed.
Our team is here to provide the support you need. If you have questions about estate planning, then talk to the experts at Miles & Hatcher, LLP. Call our team any time to schedule a consultation: (909) 481-4080.