Catalyst represents personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other interested parties in disputes over the validity of a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. The following circumstances could provide grounds for a Will Contest:
- Execution of Will without proper legal formalities
- Revocation of Will
- Subsequent Will or Codicil
- Divorce or Annulment of Marriage
- Disinherited heirs
- Allegations of mental incapacity
- Accusations of undue influence, duress, and/or fraud
- Missing wills and intestate estates involving decedents who had no will
If you are a family member or friend and you do not believe a Will accurately reflects the decedent’s wishes, or believe the decedent had a prior valid Will, we encourage you to review the following factors as you consider your options.
Costs: A Will contest, as with other trust and estate disputes, requires a considerable investment of time, emotional energy, and financial resources. Catalyst can help you evaluate your options, goals, and associated costs in order to determine whether or how you should proceed.
Standing: In order to file a Will contest, you must have an interest in the proceeding as an heir, devisee, child, spouse, or creditor of the decedent, or someone having a property right or claim against the estate, or a fiduciary representing an interested person.
Timing: In most situations, a Will contest must be filed within four months of (1) delivery of notice of admittance of a Will to probate; or (2) publication of notice in a newspaper of general circulation, whichever is later.
Evidence: The party seeking to invalidate a Will carries a heavy burden of proof and, in many cases, it is difficult to meet the standard required. A party seeking to invalidate a will must present clear, cogent, and convincing evidence, which is a higher standard of proof than in most civil cases.
Catalyst recognizes the benefit of resolving a Will Contest discreetly and amicably, and we use our best efforts to achieve our clients’ goals outside of litigation. We are, however, fully prepared to take to trial any issues that cannot be resolved through settlement.
We welcome inquiries regarding our services. Call or click to schedule a Complimentary 15-Minute Case Evaluation to learn more about legal representation to resolve a Will Contest, whether through negotiation, mediation, or trial.