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You can contest a will under estate law, but should you?

There are numerous reasons why an Ohio resident would want to contest the will of a recently deceased loved one. Ohio estate law allows any interested party who would benefit if the will was declared invalid to do so. The two main questions are whether there is grounds for the filing and if it is really in the best interests of everyone involved?

In order to contest a will, one of the following issues must be present. First, if the signer of the will lacked the mental capacity to understand what he or she was signing, the will could be declared invalid. Second, if there is evidence that someone unduly influenced or tricked the decedent into signing the will, the court might find reject the document. Third, a last will and testament, along with other estate planning documents, need to be executed in accordance with current Ohio laws in order to be valid. If the will was not properly executed, it might not be recognized by the court.

Other issues that need to be considered before filing a will contest include the time and cost involved. Having a will declared invalid is not always easy. By the time the court battle is over, the estate's assets could be diminished to a negligible level. There are also friendships and familial relationships to consider. Is trying to get the will thrown out worth the potential and probable degradation of those relationships?

If an individual believes that a will is not valid for some reason, it would be a good idea to first discuss the matter with an estate law attorney. He or she will be able to review the situation and provide advice and options regarding how to proceed. Sometimes, what is needed is an objective viewpoint and a learned eye to either put any fears to rest or proceed with litigation.

Source: aarp.org, "Where There's a Will...", Nancy Mann Jackson, Accessed on Nov. 28, 2016

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