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Wiley & Mathews

How to prepare for contesting a will

Losing a family member is a difficult experience. What can make it worse is finding out that the will making its way through probate in Ohio is not the one originally written or does not contain provisions promised by the deceased. These are just some of the common reasons someone may choose to contest a will.

According to FindLaw, here are some other common reasons to contest a will:

  •          The deceased was the victim of undue influence at the time it was created
  •          The deceased did not have testamentary capacity at the time
  •          There were not sufficient or appropriate witnesses
  •          The will is forged or fraudulent in some other way
  •          There is another will that trumps the old one
  •          The will’s provisions are not lawful

While these are obviously good reasons to contest a will, it is important to prepare before taking the big step. Forbes recommends that the first requirement is money. Litigation can be costly, which is why it is important to ensure there is a sound case with a likelihood of success. Even when there is not a high likelihood of payoff, some people may still contest a will based on sentimental value of an item that makes the cost a worthy investment or it may be necessary to protect a minor.

It is also important to prepare mentally for the stress ahead. People are often appalled by the lies and slander that they are faced with in court over the validity of a will. They may be painted as greedy, manipulative or ungrateful. This can take a harsh toll on someone’s confidence and overall mental health.

Fortunately, most of these cases settle outside of court. This may require some compromise, but provides the opportunity to prevent the emotional rollercoaster of a court battle. When settlement agreements are not to the parties’ liking, then it is possible to reject the settlement offer and move on to court proceedings.

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