Contested Wills in Pocahontas, Arkansas

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In Pocahontas, Arkansas, 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 considerable amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

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 Pocahontas, Arkansas?

Of course, a Pocahontas, Arkansas court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some cases which render a will clearly invalid.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are normally made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Additionally, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or 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. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate 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.

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 Pocahontas, Arkansas, 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 Pocahontas, Arkansas Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often challenging, and never fun. However, the entire process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a knowledgeable Pocahontas, Arkansas attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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