Georgia residents who have recently experienced the death of a loved one may believe that the deceased person’s will is inaccurate. In order to legally invalidate the will, a person will need to do what is called contesting it. Contesting is a special type of lawsuit where one has to prove that there was an illegal action that happened at the time the will was signed, which makes it invalid.
You must have standing to contest a will
Probate and estate planning attorneys will tell you that only certain people are able to contest a will. These are people that are determined to have standing. Standing simply means that you’re a party that is personally affected by the outcome of the case. In most cases, people who have standing are the heirs or beneficiaries of the will.
You only have a limited time to file
After a person’s death, you will have a limited amount of time where you can file to contest the will. A specific amount of time is determined by the state that the deceased person was living in at the time of their death. Some states specify a few months while others specify a few years. This limited time frame is so that once it’s over, the deceased person’s estate can be completely distributed instead of having to deal with the fear that it may be contested later on down the road.
The legal grounds for contesting a will
There are four legal grounds for contesting a will. The first is that the will wasn’t signed according to the state’s proper legal formalities. The second is that the will was procured by fraud. The third is that the signer lacked the proper mental capacity to construct the will. The fourth is that the signer was unduly influenced into making the will.
When it comes to contesting a will, only those with a proper legal standing may do so. They must prove to the court that one of the above four legal grounds occurred to make the will invalid. If you’re considering contesting a will, it’s vital that you seek legal counsel, as these can be very tough legal battles to win.