Can heirs-at-law contest a will?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2021 | Heirs & Beneficiaries |

When a Minnesota resident passes away, the probate court will utilize the person’s will to determine how their assets are to be distributed. In the event that the deceased person didn’t have a valid will, their assets are distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state. The individuals who receive the deceased person’s assets are commonly referred to as heirs-at-law.

What happens if an heir-at-law is disinherited?

Heirs and beneficiaries in a person’s will can change at their discretion. While the state may recognize a person as an heir-at-law, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the grantor must put them in the will. Rather, the grantor has the right to disinherit anyone they would like from their will.

When this happens, the heir-at-law may want to contest the will. As long as they are deemed an heir-at-law under the standards for the state that the deceased person lived in, they have legal standing to contest the will. If they decide to contest the will, they have the burden of proof.

The burden of proof for contesting a will

An heir-at-law can’t just randomly contest the deceased person’s will unless they have a valid reason to do so. They must prove two things before they can legally contest a will. The first item is that they are indeed an heir-at-law according to the state’s intestacy laws. Second, they must prove that they have a valid reason for contesting the will. Some of the most common include fraud and the lack of mental capacity to understand the effects of the will.

While a person’s will can be written to their own satisfaction, after their passing, it may be legally contested. Heirs-at-law are naturally given legal grounds to contest the will as long as they have a valid reason for doing so. If you’re thinking about contesting a will as an heir-at-law, it’s best to get the help of a skilled attorney.