Whether it was a surprise or not, the result still hit you like a punch in the stomach. You and your siblings were excluded from your father’s will, while your stepmother received most of your father’s estate. Something does not sit right, and you have a hunch that there are an excessive number of discrepancies to this legal document. You have decided to challenge the will.
However, be aware. You and your siblings better prepare for a rollercoaster-like ride that is time-consuming, expensive and challenging. Challenging a will can be difficult and often prove to be an unsuccessful endeavor.
Undue influence, fraud and forgery
A will can be challenged for the following reasons:
- Undue influence: If your father was vulnerable or easily influenced, he may have been coerced or threatened to change his will by someone such as his spouse, another sibling or formerly trusted person in his life.
- Lack of necessary and mental capacity: Perhaps your father was not in a solid mental state of mind when he wrote or revised his will. How can someone who no longer recognizes you as his son now have the ability to understand his estate and revise a will?
- Fraud: Was your father tricked into signing documents that turned out to be related to his will? He may have dutifully signed away his estate without realizing it.
- Forgery situations: It has happened in which forged wills turn up. Once again, blame tricksters who are trying to take advantage of your father or see an opportunity to steal away an estate.
- A will’s improper execution: Guidelines and laws are in place in which wills must be signed by the testator as well as witnesses. If not, it is a bogus document.
Most wills do not experience problems. However, if you suspect some type of trouble or illegal actions stemming from a will, it is in your best interest to put up a fight and confer with an attorney.