When someone you love passes away, there is sometimes a will that has to be read that lets you know what the person wants to happen with their belongings. In many cases, the reading of the will goes off without a hitch.
There are some instances in which a person might contest the will. In the simplest of terms, this means that the person is calling the validity of the will into question. This isn't something that can be done by anyone or for no reason at all. Instead, only specific people can contest a will and for specific reasons.
Who can contest a will?
Only a person who has an interest in the will can contest it. Typically, this means only family members of the decedent. A friend of the decedent likely wouldn't be able to contest the will because friends aren't typically in the list of heirs recognized by the state. Even if a person with an interest in the will wants to contest it, there must be a legally recognized reason for the challenge.
What are the reasons to contest a will?
One of the most commonly used reasons to contest a will is if a person has a reason to think that the decedent was coerced into writing the current will. Often, this is based on a person thinking that someone, such as a caregiver, forced or encouraged the decedent to change the terms of the will. Other reasons include the person not being of sound mind when the will was written or reason to believe that the will is fraudulent.
Whether you are on the side of the challenge or the person who is having to deal with someone else contesting the will, it is imperative that you understand what the law says about the issue. This can be complex, so it is best for you to work with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney.
Source: FindLaw, "Reasons to Challenge a Will," accessed Aug. 04, 2017