While wills can only be contested for certain reasons, they also can only be contested by certain people. Generally, only those who could be personally or financially affected by the will have the legal standing to file a will contest.
Who can contest a will?
Those who have been named in the will and those who would have inherited if there had been no will both have legal standing to contest the will. Also, those named in a previous version of the will have legal standing.
Those named in the will are called beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are often the family of the diseased. However, beneficiaries can also include friends, charities or organizations.
Those who would have inherited if there was no will are called heirs. Most often, heirs are the family of the deceased because intestate succession laws prioritize family members when distributing an estate.
What if the will has a no contest clause?
Even those who have legal standing to challenge a will may run into complications, such as a no contest clause. This is a clause that some people put in their wills to dissuade beneficiaries from challenging the will. No contest clauses are designed so that any beneficiary who tries to challenge the document will lose his or her inheritance. However, no contest clauses are difficult to enforce, and often someone can still contest the will.
There are several requirements that must be met before someone can file a will contest, and the process can be tricky. However, litigation may be an appropriate action if you have legal standing and an appropriate reason.