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How To Successfully Contest a Will in Illinois

 Posted on January 12, 2024 in Estate Planning

Cook County estate planning lawyerThe more beneficiaries there are in a will, the more likely someone will be left disappointed enough to attempt to contest it. It is not uncommon for family, friends, or colleagues to feel snubbed after a will reading. Some are grateful, whereas others feel they deserve more. When attempting to contest a will, it will require a reason that is more than "I think I deserve more." An attorney with experience in probate litigation can offer assistance in having a will thrown out by challenging its validity.

Common Reasons For Contesting A Will

There are a few different reasons to contest a will that can be successful. However, undue influence and a lack of testamentary (mental) capacity are the two most common reasons a will may be contested. Undue influence is when you feel that the testator (the person who made the will) was coerced or pressured into creating or revising the current will. Lack of testamentary capacity is when the person contesting feels that the testator was not of sound mind and body when creating the will. Other reasons for contesting a will include fraud or whether or not the will was executed and signed by state laws.

Things To Remember Before Contesting A Will

Contesting a will is a challenging process. You should prepare yourself for certain things before going through with the challenge. The first thing to understand is that it can be expensive. Some lawyers may be willing to take your case on a contingency basis where you can pay them with the inheritance you stand to gain should you win the contest. However, the estate must be worth the trouble and appear like a sure thing for any lawyer to want to touch it.

Next, you only have six months from the date the will is filed with the court to contest it or else have your rights to a contest waived. Do not allow others to delay you from receiving what you feel is rightfully yours. Act quickly or forever lose your chance. Competence is assumed for the people who create or amend a will. Because of this, if you choose to contest it, you will need to prove a lack of competence on the testator's part. To improve your chances of success, you should look into the testator's medical records for anything indicating that they may not have been of sound mind and body at the time of execution or amendment.

A fiduciary relationship could indicate that the testator was coerced or pressured into leaving someone outside their typical circle. If you notice that the testator's barber got the family home, but the family got nothing, it is worth looking into why. Do understand that if you successfully get the will thrown out, it will be replaced by a previous version. If there were no other version, then Illinois intestate laws would apply.

Contact a Cook County, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Contesting a will is a difficult task but must be addressed swiftly. You will want an experienced Schaumburg, IL probate lawyer by your side, such as those at Anderson Attorneys, P.C.. For a free consultation to review your case, contact our office at 847-850-8899.

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