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What does it mean when a will is challenged?

A person's will is a reflection of the wishes he or she has for his or her estate after he or she dies. It is possible that this document can be challenged in certain circumstances. Not everyone who thinks a will is correct has the legal right to challenge the will.

A will challenge occurs when someone makes a claim through the court that the will shouldn't be considered legally valid. There are two factors that determine whether a will contest is valid. One is the reason for the challenge and the other is the status of the person who is challenging the will.

What is legal standing?

Legal standing means that the person filing the will contest has a legal right to the assets in the estate by being named on the will. It is possible for a person to challenge the will because he or she should have been named in the will but wasn't included in the will for some reason.

Who has legal standing?

Heirs and beneficiaries have a legal standing to challenge a will. When a person dies without a will, he or she is considered intestate. This development bring the state's laws of succession into the picture. People who are named in these laws of succession can choose to challenge a will.

When can't a will be challenged?

A will can't be challenged by someone who is named in a "no contest" clause in the will. A no contest clause is essentially a way to disinherit a person so that he or she isn't able to get any inheritance from the decedent.

People who think that they might need to challenge a will should think about what this means. There are personal and legal consequences to this action. You might find that a will challenge causes a rift in the family that can't be overcome. Legally, this means that you are likely in for a lengthy and costly battle.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Can Challenge a Will?," accessed Oct. 17, 2017

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