You can never be too sure about the actual contents of a will until it is unveiled during probate. Therefore, it may come as a shocker when you discover that you are not among the beneficiaries of your loved one’s estate, contrary to your expectations.
Given that your loved one is no longer around to clarify issues or sort things out, you may wonder what to do next. Here is what you need to know:
You can contest the will
You may challenge the will if you suspect foul play and have it invalidated. When this happens, the state’s intestate succession laws will come into play and you may inherit from the estate. Some of the legal grounds for contesting a will include:
- A testator’s lack of testamentary capacity
- Duress or undue influence on your loved one when creating the will
- An improperly executed will when the current will was not signed or witnessed as required by law
However, there are things you need to consider before taking this route. First, the burden of proof lies on you, and you need to show that the will does not represent the true wishes of your loved one. How solid is your argument?
Second, there are legal costs associated with contesting a will. Do you stand to gain or lose if your contest is successful? There is also the risk of falling out with your kin if you decide to contest the will.
Get proper legal counsel
There is no true and tested solution to resolve such matters since every case is unique. Therefore, it is best to have an informed assessment of the prevailing circumstances to determine the best way forward.
Understanding your chances of a successful contest and the other options available, such as mediation, will help you make decisions that are in your best interests.