When a person creates a will, they create a legal document stating that these are their wishes for their possessions after they are gone. Normally wills will go through the courts with no problems, but because of certain circumstances some wills do get overturned and may require probate administration. What are the reasons for contesting a will?
One of the top reasons wills can be contested and overturned is that the person who made out the will lacked the mental capacity to do so. This is also known as testamentary capacity and it speaks to those with dementia, mental illness, minors, or those with a diminished mental capacity due to developmental issues or illness.
The creator of the will did not realize or have the ability to truly understand what they were signing before doing so. This can be overturned by the courts.
A will can be contested if you can prove that fraud was committed. This means that the will was made when some other person had undue influence over the writer of the will to write it how they wanted it to be. The creator can also be tricked into writing it when they had no plan to do so, or a third person could have forged the will themselves before signing the creator's name to it.
It is possible that a will can be contested if there are actually two wills in play. The earlier version could be an outdated document, and instead of updating the one they already had they created a new will. This can nullify the first will and therefore can be overturned in court. The older will should always be destroyed if a new one has been made, but there have been instances of that being overlooked.
When a will is created, the signing has to be witnessed by at least two people. These people need to be adults and not the heirs listed in the will itself. There are some states, however, that do allow handwritten wills in which the signing has not been witnessed by anyone. These types of wills can be contested much easier because there is no proof that the person signing it was not forced to do so.
Every state has their own laws about what is legal to place into a will and what must be present to make that will legal. For example, most states require that is has the person's name, that it has appointed an executor or executrix of the will, and it must have at least one item such as a piece of property to give to an heir stated within it.