There are several different reasons for will challenges but not everyone can challenge a will. For family members and loved ones wishing to challenge a will, it is important to be familiar with who can challenge a will. Requirements for who can challenge a will.
To challenge a will, the party challenging it must have standing to do so. To have standing, the party challenging the will must be named as a beneficiary in the will or, if they are not a named beneficiary in the will, would inherit or lose an inheritance under the will if it was determined to be invalid.
Beneficiaries may be able to challenge a will. Beneficiaries may be able to challenge a will whether or not they are related to the estate planner who had the will. Beneficiaries include anyone named in the will such as a spouse, child, grandchild, other relatives or friends, charities and pets.
Heirs of the estate planner may be able to challenge a will. Heirs may be able to challenge a will because if the estate planner had died without a valid will, they may receive a share of the estate according to state intestacy laws. Heirs are usually named as beneficiaries in a will but may not be in all cases. Heirs can include spouses, children, parents, grandparents and siblings of the estate planner. Heirs are only able to challenge a will in circumstances when they believe they were omitted from the will or left a disproportionate share of the estate under the will.
This blog has previously discussed when a will may be challenged. Challenging a will through estate litigation can be a difficult process during an already difficult time for family and friends of the estate planner which is why understand who can challenge a will is important.