Why are wills challenged in probate?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2021 | Probate, Wills |

Many Tucson residents have heard of wills and understand that they serve a purpose in the estate planning process. A will is a testamentary device that provides the heirs and beneficiaries of a decedent’s end of life estate with instructions on what the decedent wanted to happen with their property and assets when they were no longer alive. Some wills are processed without controversy in probate. Others suffer serious challenges that cause delays, costs, and confusion for beneficiaries.

This legal post provides no advice on estate planning or other legal matters to its readers. It is intended to elucidate some of the common reasons that wills are challenged after decedents’ deaths. Readers who have questions or concerns about wills or estate planning in general should direct their inquiries to Tucson attorneys who support and represent estate planning clients.

Grounds for will challenges

In some cases, wills are challenged based on technical deficiencies. Many jurisdictions require wills to be witnessed by multiple parties who attest to the validity of the document. If a will lacks technical specifications, it may be challenged during probate.

A common reason that wills are challenged is the testamentary capacity of the decedent. Wills generally must be created and executed by individuals who have soundness of mind. When a person does not understand what they are doing, or what purposes their will will achieve after their death, they may lack testamentary capacity to create a valid will.

In some unfortunate circumstances, individuals are coerced or fraudulently induced to create wills that benefit unscrupulous individuals. A will cannot be compelled from someone against their will. When evidence of duress, coercion, or fraud is present in the creation of a will, it may be invalidated.

Planning can prevent will challenges

Will challenges can become contentious, expensive, and time-consuming. Though it is impossible to guarantee that all legal complications can be avoided, many individuals are able to prepare strong wills and comprehensive estate plans to prevent contests and challenges after their deaths. Legal professionals who work in probate and estate planning law can advise their clients on how best to meet their end-of-life planning goals and protect their wealth and assets from complications.