A Will is a significant legal document and as such there are laws regarding what constitute a valid Will and who may create a Will. In order to create a Will, the testator, or the person creating the Will, must have what is known as “testamentary capacity”, which means that the person making the Will is mentally competent enough and is not so unwell that they cannot legally make a Will. If the testator did not have testamentary capacity at the time that the Will was created, the Will is invalid.
If someone believes that a certain Will is invalid because the testator did not have testamentary capacity at the time the will was created, he or she may bring an action in court to have that Will set aside. Typically, such a challenge to the validity of a Will is initiated when one party tries to have a Will admitted for probate, and another party opposes the admission of the Will. These issues often arise when someone makes significant changes to a will shortly before passing, or leaves substantial gifts to someone other than family.
The Will Contest process can be very difficult as it often requires expert testimony regarding the person’s health and mental capacities at the time that the Will was created. The person opposing the admission of the Will must show not only that the testator’s mental capabilities were so impaired, but also may need to demonstrate that the testator had been unduly influenced by someone who took advantage of his weakened intellect and caused him to create a Will that he would not have otherwise created, which is an intensely fact driven analysis.
Our experienced attorneys bring their litigation and estate planning experience to a Will contest. If you believe that a Will is invalid and wish to contest it, our attorneys can assist you with this difficult and emotionally sensitive process.
To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or for assistance in Pennsylvania and New York call our office at 215-568-4968, for assistance in New Jersey call our office at 609-523-2222, and for assistance in Florida, call our office at 727-538-4178. Evening and weekend meetings can be scheduled at your request.