Caution Flags: Top 6 Reasons for Contesting a Will

6:41 pm Trust Litigation, Wills

caution flag 150x150 Caution Flags:  Top 6 Reasons for Contesting a WillIn a recent article on Will Contests-Prediction and Prevention, Gerry W. Beyer, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, noted these six prevalent reasons for contesting a will:

1.  Disinheritance of close family members in favor of a distant relative, friend or charity.  Beyer noted that will contests based on assets passing out of the traditional family are more likely today than ever because of societal changes that include more divorces, cohabitation and same-sex relationships as well as childless marriages.

2.  Unequal treatment of children.  Siblings treated inequitably in inheritances are more likely to contest a will.

3.  Sudden or significant change in disposition of assets.  When someone suddenly changes a bequest, the beneficiaries of a previous will may be more likely to challenge the new will in court.

4.  Excessive restrictions on inheritance.  Beneficiaries may content the will if they feel that certain restrictions or conditions made on the inheritance by the testator are excessive or unreasonable.

5.  Mental health of testator.  If a testator is elderly or disabled, unhappy heirs may try to claim lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.

6.  Unusual behavior of testator.  If a testator is acting unusual, this may give dissatisfied heirs a reason to content the will on the basis of diminished capacity.

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