Contested Wills in Newark, Delaware

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Newark, DE

In Newark, Delaware, 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."

Occasionally, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a significant portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for instance). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If the decedent was fairly well-off, their will might involve a great deal of money or property. This is one of the major reasons, besides a general sense of exclusion, that a family member might expend the great deal of time and money necessary to contest a will.

Bringing legal action against anyone, let alone a family member, is not a decision that you should rush into. Contesting a will, particularly if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Evidently, this is something to consider.

When Can a Will be Contested in Newark, Delaware?

There are several reasons that a court in Newark, Delaware might invalidate a will.

For instance, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, usually physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. Nonetheless, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not enough to prove duress.

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.

If you successfully contest the will in Newark, Delaware, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that usually happen during a person's life. Usually, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.

Can a Newark, Delaware Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will can be a convoluted, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. There is really no way around this. However, a reputable Newark, Delaware wills and estates attorney can minimize these problems, and make the process as painless as possible.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Newark

Newark, Delaware is a city in New Castle County, and is located just miles away from Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware. As of a 2006 estimate by the Census Bureau, Newark has a population of just over 30,000 people.

Newark was founded by Scots-Irish and Welshsettlers in the late 1600s. However, the town was not officially chartered until 1758, when King George II issued a charter.

Throughout its history, Newark, Delaware has been a center for education, and educational institutions have played an important role in its development over the last few hundred years.

A grammar school was established in the town in 1765, as the Newark Academy. 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence were among the school's first graduates. Newark is also home to the University of Delaware, which was founded in 1833 as Newark College. Today, the University of Delaware is well regarded for many of its programs, particularly in the life sciences.

Newark, Delaware attorneys have to be ready to handle a wide variety of cases, given the unique demographics of the college town. Newark, Delaware has a large number of college students, as well as affluent families. The legal issues that these two groups are likely to face are very different from one another. Accordingly, Newark, Delaware lawyers have to be very well-rounded, making it very likely that they can handle just about any legal issue you might face.

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