Contested Wills in Mobile, Alabama
In Mobile, Alabama, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."
A will is typically contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, particularly if the testator's motives are not clear. They will frequently assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.
If a lot of money, or some specifically valuable property, is at stake, the person who was left out might want to go to court and allege that the will was invalid. When left out of a will, a family member might naturally assume that some kind of mistake has been made, whether this is directly true or not.
Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can frequently foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.
When Can a Will be Contested in Mobile, Alabama?
There are numerous reasons that a Mobile, Alabama court might hold a will to be invalid.
One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Typically, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.
Another fact that might invalidate a will is the mental incompetence of the testator. Wills must be a product of a person's volition. A will cannot be really voluntary unless the testator knows what they're doing. Therefore, if the testator is mentally incompetent at the time he or she makes the will, the will cannot take effect. You should be aware, however, that this test applies at the time the will is made. So, if the testator is not mentally competent at the time of death, but was when the will was made, the will is valid.
There are many other facts that might make a will invalid, and therefore serve as grounds to contest a will. If a will is effectively contested in Mobile, Alabama, and held to be invalid, this typically results in the property being distributed as if the decedent had died intestate (without a will). This means that it will usually go to the decedent's closest living relative.
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Can a Mobile, Alabama Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a reliable Mobile, Alabama attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.
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Contested Will Attorneys in the Largest AL Cities
Life in MobileMobile is unsurprisingly the seat of Mobile County. You may not know, however, that Mobile is the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and St. Petersburg, Florida. In fact, over 400,000 residents live in Mobile, which was the first state capital of Louisiana. Mobile is also famous for being a Gulf Coast cultural hub. the city boasts the oldest organized celebrations like Carnival and Mardi Gras.
Tourism plays a major role in the Mobile economy. At Battleship Memorial park you can tour the USS Alabama battleship from WWII and Korean War submarine the USS Drum. The Mobile Carnival Museum offers Mardi Gras history and memorabilia like floats and costumes. A number of historic antebellum house museums like the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion from 1855 can be found in Mobile as well. A few of the other exciting attractions to which tourists flock consist of the Gulf Coast Exploratoreum, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and Mobile Botanical Gardens that earn the city's nickname the "Azalea City."
Mobile is known nationally as a hub for business. Mobile industries include steel fabrication and building, aerospace, retail, medicine, manufacturing and transportation. The Alabama State Docks recently underwent a $300 million expansion project that provided new jobs. Additionally, Mobile's Austal USA shipbuilding company will be trusted with constructing U.S. Forces vessels after winning another multi-billion dollar defense contract with the United States Government in late 2010.