Contested Wills in Raleigh, North Carolina
It is possible, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to go to court and claim that a will is invalid, in some cases. This is called a Will Contest.
A will is usually contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, especially if the testator's motives are not clear. They will often assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.
If there is a large amount of money or property at stake, a family member who was left out of the will might find it to be worth the time or money to contest it.
As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and expensive. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among people who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.
When Can a Will be Contested in Raleigh, North Carolina?
Courts in Raleigh, North Carolina will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, however, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.
For example, if the will was obtained through duress (threat of some kind of harm), then it is invalid. Duress, however, is difficult to prove. If a named beneficiary was in some position of power or trust with the decedent, and is not someone who one would ordinarily expect to get a large gift in a will, that might raise significant initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly enough to prove duress.
Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Basically, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a valid will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.
So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a Raleigh, North Carolina will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Generally, when a will is declared void, the decedent's assets will be treated as if he or she had died without a will. This is known as "intestacy." Usually, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, typically a spouse, children, siblings, or parents. If absolutely no relatives can be found, the property is passed to the state. If there is a previous will, which was revoked by the invalid will, a court might revive the old will. If the new will was found to be completely invalid (rather than just parts of it), it follows, then, that the revocation of the old will is invalid as well. Therefore, the old will can be given effect.
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Can a Raleigh, North Carolina Contested Will Attorney Help?
Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A good lawyer in Raleigh, North Carolina can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.
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Life in Raleigh
Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and seat of Wake County. Raleigh is one of the three cities with Durham and Chapel Hill that's known as the "Research Triangle." It's known as such because North Carolina State University, Duke University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill make up the three major research universities. As you may imagine, Raleigh is home then to a number of students and outstanding professors who are known internationally for their expertise. You may not know that Raleigh also has both historical and cultural attractions.
Raleigh is founded in 1792 and named for Sir Walter Raleigh who was a famous aristocrat and explorer. The Downtown region of Raleigh is home to lots of attractions like the North Carolina State Capital, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and Museum of History. For history buffs who want to learn more about the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh City Museum in the historic Briggs Hardware Building on Fayetteville Street offers a unique view inside the growth and roots of the ever changing city. Peace College, Shaw University, Wake Technical Community College, and Strayer University are a few of the institutions of higher learning available. There are over 8,100 acres of park land in Raleigh. That even includes a championship BMX racetrack, botanical gardens, arboretum, and 22 staffed community centers.