Contested Wills in Tucson, Arizona
In Tucson, Arizona, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is known as a "contested will" or "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, 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 large 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.
As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and costlye. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among individuals who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.
When Can a Will be Contested in Tucson, Arizona?
There are numerous reasons that a Tucson, Arizona 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. Usually, 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 truly 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 Tucson, Arizona, and held to be invalid, this usually 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 Tucson, Arizona Contested Will Attorney Help?
Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a reputable Tucson, Arizona 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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Life in TucsonTucson is a major city in Arizona and the county seat of Pima County. With a population of about 548,000, it is the second largest city in Arizona after Phoenix. Tucson is just over 100 miles from Phoenix and about an hour away from the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Often called "The Old Pueblo", Tucson is an attractive mix of traditional southwestern culture and modern innovations. The downtown area of Tucson has retained much of its historic southwest feel. Several downtown buildings such as the Hotel Congress and the Art Deco Fox Theater were constructed in the 1920's. Midtown Tucson also draws many visitors to the city. For example, the University of Arizona is located in midtown, which includes Arizona Stadium as well as the McKale Center.
The tourism industry fuels much of Tucson's economy, with some 3.5 million visitors bringing in over $2 billion a year. Tucson's warm climate attracts many "snowbirds", or winter visitors who often purchase a second home in the city. Popular events for tourists include the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show and the Tucson Folk Festival.
Lawyers in Tucson, Arizona handle most of their cases at the Tucson City Court. Tucson lawyers are available to help you understand the many laws that are unique to the state of Arizona.