In Union, Georgia, 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 normally expect to inherit a large portion of the testator's estate (spouses, for example). This might lead them to assume, correctly or not, that the will was a 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.

Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can often 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 Union, Georgia?

Of course, a Union, Georgia court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some situations which render a will clearly invalid.

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.

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 Union, Georgia, 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.

Can a Union, Georgia Contested Will Attorney Help?

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