Not Properly Signed
The most common grounds for a Will contest is if an heir at law or previous beneficiary believes or can prove that the Last Will and Testament was not signed according to state law. Your attorney will know what the state law requires including: who can be a witness, who must be present and how the signatures must be notarized. If all state laws for signing a Will are not followed, that document can be considered invalid.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
If it is believed that the person signing the Last Will and Testament was not of sound mind and could not fully comprehend the consequences of his or her action, the Will in question can be contested. In this case, the witnesses must verify the state of mind of the testator at the time the Will was signed. A lack of testamentary capacity is hard to prove and often requires a doctor’s statement.
Signed Under Duress
If a loved one believes a decedent signed a Will under the duress of another family member, then the Will may be contested. Duress includes such as actions as threatening the testator, separating the signer from other family members, speaking on behalf of the testator to the Attorney, or even having the Will in his or her possession. Duress is very hard to prove and requires solid evidence.
If a testator signs a Will believing it to be some other document, then the person presenting the Will has committed fraud and the Will may be invalid. Since the decedent cannot testify as to what he or she thought was signed, the witnesses who were present must speak. A judge will ask the witnesses what document they witnessed being signed and what document it appeared the decedent believed was being signed. If it can be proven the testator signed without knowing it was a Will, then the document will be thrown out.
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