Contested Wills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Cedar Rapids, IA

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is known as a "contested will" or "will contest."

Sometimes, testators leave out of their wills people who might normally expect to inherit a large portion of the testator's estate (spouses, for instance). 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 main 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, especially if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Obviously, this is something to consider.

When Can a Will be Contested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa?

A court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. However, there are some allegations which, if proven, clearly invalidate a will.

For example, 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. However, 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.

A will can also be rejected because the decedent was not mentally competent to draft it at the it was made. A court will look at the person's mental capacity at the time the will was made, so even if the testator is now perfectly sane, if he or she was incapacitated for whatever reason (by way of intoxication, for example) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

If you successfully contest the will in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 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 Cedar Rapids, Iowa Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve confusing legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Cedar Rapids, Iowa attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

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

Life in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is Iowa's second largest city, neighboring the Linn County line and Cedar River. It is about 100 miles from the capital, Des Moines. The city is home to approximately 126,326 people. The dominant industries in the area are the transportation industry and the health care industry.

Cedar Rapids is one of the largest cities in the world for corn processing. Grain processing is the most important sector in the city because most of the residents are employed within it. Large companies that have a location in Cedar Rapids include Rockwell Collins, Quaker Oats, Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills and Nordstrom. To serve these corporations and industries, Cedars Mills is home to many law firms and lawyers, well-experienced in all areas of practice.

Popular figures who have once called Cedar Rapids home include Grant Wood, William L. Shirer, Carl Van Vechten, Bobby Driscoll, Ashton Kutcher, Elijah Wood, and Ron Livingston.

Popular attractions in the area include the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the National Czech Slovak Museum Library, Theater Cedar Rapids, and the Paramount Theater.

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