Who Has Legal Standing to Contest a Will?
You may feel that you have justification for contesting a will, but only in certain instances will you be legally entitled to do so. If you have questions about your legal standing in such a case, consult your Bryan estate attorney.
Contesting a Will
A will contest challenges the last will and testament of the testator. The people who can bring such a contest are actually quite limited. Such individuals or entities must have had a direct involvement in the testator's life or be affected by the will contest. A person cannot bring a will contest because he feels that another individual was unfairly left out of a will.
Who Can Bring a Will Contest?
You can bring a will contest generally if you can show that you were or should have been in line to inherit a portion of the estate. Often a will contest is brought by a child of the testator who was not included in the will. For instance, if the decedent had two children, but only one is included in the will, the other child is likely to have legal standing to bring a will contest. That said, if the challenger was also left out of one or more older wills, the individual will have a more difficult time convincing the court the he was entitled to a share of the estate. Indeed, it will be necessary to address any prior wills and explain why the testator should have included that individual.
An entity, such as a charity or bank, that was included in a prior will but removed from the current one should also have legal standing to bring a will contest. The same criteria will apply, in that if an older will also excludes the entity, a successful challenge to the current will is going to be much more difficult.
If the will is successfully challenged, the testator will be considered to have died intestate. The probate court will then need to make a decision as to how the estate will be divided between heirs.