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Who can contest a will, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Wills

When a person with significant assets passes away in Georgia, this can be a high-stakes financial event during a difficult time. Depending on the provisions of a will, certain family members, friends and institutions can see their financial situations change overnight.

In some cases, an interested party will be unhappy with the contents of a will. In that circumstance, it may be possible to contest the will and receive a judgment from the court differing from the will’s instructions. But wills can’t be contested by just anyone, and there are certain limitations on doing so.

Who can contest a will?

To contest a will, a person needs to meet a few conditions. Namely, they need to have a legal interest in the will’s outcome.

The individual contesting the will must either be a beneficiary or someone who would have inherited assets if the deceased person hadn’t created a will. For example, if you are a deceased person’s child, you would have standing to contest their will, whether or not you are named in the will.

How can you contest a will?

Simply being unhappy with the contents of a will isn’t enough justification to contest that will. There needs to be a legal rationale for voiding or changing the will.

Some examples might be if you can demonstrate that the person wasn’t of sound mind or was unduly influenced by another party when drawing up the will, if the will’s language is unclear or invalid, if no valid party witnessed the will’s signing, or even if the person was tricked into signing the will.

If you can show that any of these are true, the court may rule to void or amend the current will in your favor. Contesting a will is possible, but doing so requires standing and a valid legal challenge to how the will was written.