In order to challenge a will, you need a certain standing. For example, you cannot challenge your aunt's will simply because you think you should have received a portion of her estate. In order to effectively challenge someone's will, you have to be an "interested person." In general, an "interested person" includes children, heirs, spouses and creditors. It also includes any person or organization that has rights to the decedent's property or a claim against it.
In many cases, people that challenge a will include individuals that were included in an earlier version of the document, those that are beneficiaries to a later version, and intestate heirs. If you are considering challenging a will in the North Canton area, it is important to know whether or not you have the proper standing to do so. Read further for more information on who can challenge a will.
Do you have standing?
According to most probate laws in the United States, you must have standing in order for a court to even consider your challenge. This means that you must be a listed beneficiary or you must be in line to inherit the decedent's property if the court declares the will invalid.
Are you a beneficiary?
A beneficiary is a person or organization included in the will. In order to be a beneficiary, you do not have to have a familial relation to the decedent, however, you do have to be named in the will. Some people have gone so far as to include their pets as beneficiaries in their wills.
Are you an heir?
Generally, an heir is an individual who would stand to inherit the decedent's property if the decedent dies without a will. Many people include their heirs as listed beneficiaries in their wills. If you are a child, spouse, or other relative of the decedent, the court may consider you to be an heir.
Is there a "No Contest" clause?
If the will you are considering to challenge has a "no contest" clause, you may want to reconsider the challenge. Some people include a "no contest" clause which will disinherit anyone that losses a challenge to the will. However, many states will not enforce a "no contest" clause. Furthermore, the probate court will often hear a case from anyone that has standing and a valid reason for the challenge.
If you are considering challenging a will in Ohio, it is important to remember that the probate litigation process can often be very complex. Your attorney will be able to advise you on how best to proceed with your case.