Five reasons for challenging a will

There are many requests each year to have wills overturned for various reasons. Here are five of the most common reasons Last Wills and Testaments are rescinded:

#1- The signature is a forgery. While this seems almost too simple, proving the will was not actually signed by the testator, but instead the signature is forged will cause the will to be overturned.

#2 – The person who signed the will was pressured into signing in an inappropriate way. Was the testator coerced and influenced to the extent that they lost the ability to choose whether to sign the will or not. Such activities as pleading, begging, even harassing, are not severe enough. Some telltale actions that may lead to an overturning of a will include keeping the signer away from family and friends, picking up the cost of the will, speaking to the lawyer involved as to the terms of the document, having the original copy in their possession, and other behaviors inappropriate to their relationship to the testator.

#3 – State laws were not followed in the signing of the document. As there are very definite and strict laws in each state describing the proper procedure for the legal authorizing of a will. While most of us expect any will signed with an attorney present would meet all legal state guidelines, in many cases this is not true.

#4 – The signer of the will did not possess the legal ability to sign. The person signing their will needs to be cognizant of at least these three concepts: What it means, legally, to sign a will; the value of the assets they are distributing with the will and what person or persons are assigned that distribution and their relationship with those individuals.

#5 – Trickery was used in convincing the signer to put their signature onto the document. A will signed under fraudulent conditions will be overturned. An example would be tricking a person into signing a document they have been told is a deed or other legal device. Signing a piece of paper without knowing it is a will is not signing the will.

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