Creating a will is an important decision for every adult. This document can establish your medical, financial, and legal wishes should you ever become incapacitated or pass away, making it is a valuable tool for everyone affected by your estate plans.
As such, making the decision to set aside a person’s will during probate is not a decision the courts make lightly. However, it can be done under certain circumstances.
The will is invalid
A will is a legal document that must comply with state laws. In Wisconsin, for instance, a will must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person creating the will), and signed by at least two competent witnesses.
If a will does not fit these criteria, it is not a valid document and the courts can set it aside.
It is not the right will
Updating a will is a wise decision. However, this can lead to some confusion if there are multiple versions of the document available to different people. In these situations, the most recent will typically trump an older version.
The intention or capacity of the testator is in question
The courts may not enforce a will if the testator lacked the capacity to sign a legal document or if there is reason to believe he or she was manipulated into signing something he or she did not understand or want.
This can be one of the more contentious grounds upon which someone might contest a will. Allegations of undue influence, fraud, or a lack of mental capacity can be hurtful and seem unwarranted to others who might not agree or want to believe that someone was not mentally fit to sign a legal document. They can be especially painful for someone accused of manipulating, forging, or otherwise contributing to the creation of an invalid will.
Taking will contests seriously
Because of what is at stake in will contests, it is crucial for everyone involved to take them seriously. They should be pursued carefully and with legal counsel.
And if you are creating a will, you should keep these circumstances in mind as well so you can avoid mistakes that make it easier for someone to challenge the will you worked so hard to create.