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Can I challenge a loved one's will?

Raising a challenge to a will is a tall order. In fact, almost all wills go through probate without any snags. That's because the courts see the will as coming directly from the mouth of the decedent. Since they aren't here anymore to let their wishes be known, the will is considered the next closest thing. However, that doesn't mean that every will is 100 percent bulletproof. There are ways to challenge a will and get it voided completely or have a portion struck from it.

Here are the grounds on which you may be able to challenge a will:

  • Testamentary capacity. The person who made the will must have been at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. That means if you can prove they were suffering from dementia, under the influence of drugs or dealing with a mental disorder at the time, you might be able to challenge.
  • Validity of the witnesses. The signing of the will must be attended by two witnesses who have nothing to gain from the will itself. The rules on witnesses vary from state to state.
  • Undue influence. If you can prove that someone was manipulating the decedent into signing a will that didn't actually represent their wishes, you may have a chance of getting it voided.

These are just a few of the ways to successfully challenge a will. If you believe something is wrong with a loved one's will, a probate attorney may be able to help you make it right.

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