How Do You Contest Wills and Trusts?


Quick Answer

To contest a will or trust, an individual must file the necessary paperwork and all relevant documentation with the probate court in the state where the testator of the will or trust died, according to Piper Li for LegalZoom. Litigants may file the paperwork themselves or through an attorney.

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Full Answer

Time limits to contest a will or trust are between two and six months for most states, notes Li. To contest a will or trust, an individual must have legal standing, which is defined as a beneficiary or devisee of the will or trust or an individual who would inherit if there was not a will or trust in existence, states FindLaw.

Grounds to contest a will or trust include the decedent's lack of mental capacity at the time the will or trust was signed, undue influence by another, fraud, ambiguous language or an improperly signed and witnessed trust or will, explains FindLaw. Fraud often takes the form of a ruse where the decedent was induced to sign the will and trust without knowing what he was signing. Judges consider language to be ambiguous when it can be interpreted in two ways. In such cases, courts impose their interpretation of what the deceased intended. An example of an undue influence by another is when a decedent is coerced into signing the will or trust by the threat of withholding his medication.

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