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When might a will be contested?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

A will is a fundamental component of virtually any estate plan. This legal document can make clear your instructions in terms of passing on assets to beneficiaries. A will can also designate guardians to look after minor children and otherwise detail your wishes concerning your digital assets, funeral preferences, etc.

Oftentimes, the instructions of a will are carried out as intended upon a person’s death. However, there are occasions when a will may be contested. Why does this happen?

Questions over legitimacy

A testator must meet certain legal requirements before they can draft a valid will. For instance, in Oklahoma, a testator must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, two witnesses must witness the signing and of the will and then sign it themselves. This requirement helps to minimize instances of fraud. If there are any doubts as to whether a testator actually drafted and signed the will personally, this concern can result in will contests.

Undue influence

A will must reflect the true wishes of the testator. In some cases, testators may be elderly or vulnerable. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have the required mental capacity to draft a will, but it could mean that they are particularly susceptible to outside influences. For example, an elderly individual who has a caregiver could be manipulated into including that individual in their will. There is nothing wrong with including caregivers in a will as such, but sudden and drastic changes to a will that favor them could inspire questions.

The best way to better ensure that your will holds up legally is to seek legal guidance during its creation. This will provide the best chances of your final wishes being honored as written.