Three Common Ways a Will Dispute Can Arise
When a loved one passes away, the distribution of their assets and property can be a source of conflict among family members and beneficiaries, even when a will is available. Wills are legal documents that outline a person's wishes for the distribution of their assets and property after their death. Thus, they must be very clear to avoid confusion and potential disputes.
Unfortunately, when will disputes arise, they can be emotionally and financially stressful for families. Here are a few reasons why a will might be disputed.
Challenges to the validity of the will
A will can be challenged because it is not legally valid. Some of the reasons that it may be found to be invalid include:
- Lack of proper execution: A will should be properly executed according to the laws of the state in which it was made. To typically create a valid will, the testator must sign it in front of at least two witnesses, who must also sign the document. If the will is not properly executed, it may be challenged as invalid.
- Lack of testamentary capacity: The testator must have the mental capacity to make a will at the time it was created. If the testator lacks testamentary capacity, the will might be challenged.
- Undue influence: A will may also be challenged if it is believed that the testator was coerced or unduly influenced into making the will. This may happen if the testator was subjected to physical, emotional, or psychological pressure that caused them to make decisions that were not in line with their wishes.
Disputes over the interpretation of the will
Even if a will is found to be legally valid, disputes may arise over the interpretation of its terms. This can happen when the language of the will is unclear or ambiguous, or when different parties interpret the terms differently.
For example, if the will says that the testator's "beloved spouse" is to receive a specific asset, but the testator was divorced at the time of their death, it may be unclear who intended to receive the asset. These disputes may require the court to determine the testator's intent based on the language of the will and other evidence.
Disputes over the distribution of assets
Will disputes may also arise over the distribution of assets according to the terms of the will. This can happen when different parties disagree over who should receive certain assets, or when the terms of the will are deemed unfair or unreasonable.
For example, if the will leaves the majority of the testator's assets to one beneficiary and only a tiny portion to others, this may be seen as unfair by the disinherited beneficiaries.
It is important to note that will disputes can be complex and involve multiple parties with competing interests. Resolving these disputes can be time-consuming and costly, and it is often advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced lawyer to navigate the legal process. In the end, it is essential to resolve will disputes fairly and amicably to minimize the negative impact on relationships within the family.
For more info, contact a company like Young and Muggleton.