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FAQ - Trust & Estate Litigation

What is a Will Contest?

A Will Contest is legal action designed to invalidate all or part of a Will.  Will contests often involve an allegation that the person was senile, delusional, or was of unsound mind at the time they made their Will.  Other common allegations involve fraud, coercion, undue influence, forgery, and ambiguities in the document.  If the Will Contest is successful, the Court can invalidate all or part of the Will.

Who can initiate a Will Contest?

A Will Contest can be initiated by any "interested person" by filing a written objection to some aspect of a Will.  An "interested person" is rather loosely defined to mean anyone who has a stake in the outcome of the Will.

Is a "Death-bed Will" valid?

The closer someone is to death, the more likely the person’s Will or other estate planning document is to be challenged by an “interested party.”  As one nears death, the mental faculties of the decedent begin to diminish.  Unfortunately, this is also the time that pressure is brought by individuals to have changes made to the document.  For this reason, many Will Contests arise when last minute revisions are made to an existing Will, or an existing Will is replaced by a new Will with different provisions.

What is a Trust Contest?

The validity of a Trust whereby property has been transferred by someone who has died can be challenged on much the same grounds as a Will.  A Trust can be found to have been procured by fraud, undue influence or coercion.  If this is proven, the Trust can be rescinded, set aside or reformed.



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