Contesting the will of a friend or family member is a complex and sensitive matter. In Minnesota, individuals may have grounds to contest a will based on certain factors.
Understanding these reasons is important for those who find themselves questioning the validity of a testamentary document.
Lack of testamentary capacity
One common reason to contest a will is the alleged lack of testamentary capacity of the testator, the person creating the will. If you can demonstrate that the testator did not possess the mental capacity to understand the consequences of their decisions at the time of creating the will, it may provide grounds for contestation.
Undue influence occurs when an individual exerts pressure or manipulates the testator to make decisions that go against their true intentions. Contesting a will on the grounds of undue influence involves presenting evidence that someone had a significant impact on the testator’s decisions.
Fraud or forgery
You can also contest a will if there are allegations of fraud or forgery. If someone can provide evidence of deception or that the will itself is a forgery, it raises legitimate concerns about the document’s authenticity.
Mistake or ambiguity
Another reason to contest a will is if there are mistakes or ambiguities in its language. If the terms of the will are unclear, leading to confusion or misinterpretation, interested parties may seek to contest the document to ensure a fair and accurate distribution of assets.
If you believe that the testator had revoked or intended to revoke the will, you have grounds to contest. This could involve presenting evidence of a subsequent will or a formal revocation of the existing one. Although cases involving famous people like Aretha Franklin grab the headlines, situations like this occur in all walks of life.
All states have specific requirements for the valid execution of a will. If there are allegations that the will was not properly signed or witnessed according to legal standards, it may provide a basis for contestation.
Inadequate provision for dependents
State law recognizes the rights of dependents, such as spouses and minor children, to a share of the deceased person’s estate. If a will fails to provide adequately for dependents, they may contest the will to secure a fair and reasonable portion.
Being well-informed about your options empowers you to make decisions that can lead to a fairer resolution of a loved one’s estate.