Contested Wills in Arlington Heights, Illinois

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Arlington Heights, IL

In Arlington Heights, Illinois, 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 a lot of money, or some specifically valuable property, is at stake, the person who was left out might want to go to court and allege that the will was invalid. When left out of a will, a family member might naturally assume that some kind of mistake has been made, whether this is actually true or not.

Like any legal matter, however, this should not be taken lightly. Will contests can foster conflict and strife within families who are already mourning a loved one. This can cause grave and irreversible damage to family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Arlington Heights, Illinois?

There are several reasons that a court in Arlington Heights, Illinois might invalidate a will.

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.

If you successfully contest the will in Arlington Heights, Illinois, 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 Arlington Heights, Illinois Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will can be a difficult, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. There is really no way around this. However, a reputable Arlington Heights, Illinois 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 Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of more than 76,000 people.

Despite being so closely associated with the much larger city of Chicago, Arlington Heights, Illinois is most definitely a distinct community in its own right.

Arlington Heights, Illinois has undergone a major business boom in recent decades, leading to significant economic and population growth. As a result, Arlington Heights, Illinois is home to Arlington Park, a famous horse race track, which has been in nearly constant use since the 1920s.

Because of its diversity, and the extremely active business and racing community, there is a significant demand for skilled Arlington Heights, Illinois lawyers. Lawyers in Arlington Heights need to be skilled in as wide a variety of legal areas as possible, if they are to succeed in an incredibly competitive legal marketplace.

In addition to a large quantity of lawyers, the quality of Arlington Heights, Illinois lawyers is hard to beat.Being near Chicago means that Arlington Heights, Illinois is very close to Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. These universities are considered by many to have some of the finest law schools in the nation. Both of these law schools consistently rank in the top 15 nationwide.

Given the quantity and quality of lawyers in Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas, chances are that hiring an Arlington Heights, Illinois lawyer will turn out to be a very good decision.

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