Contested Wills in Evanston, Illinois

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Evanston, IL

In Evanston, 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.

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 Evanston, Illinois?

Courts in Evanston, Illinois will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, nonetheless, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.

For instance, if the will was obtained through duress (threat of some kind of harm), then it is invalid. Duress, however, is difficult to prove. If a named beneficiary was in some position of power or trust with the decedent, and is not someone who one would ordinarily expect to get a large gift in a will, that might raise significant initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly 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 a Evanston, Illinois will is successfully challenged and thus invalidated, there has to be some system for orderly distribution of the decedent's property. Usually, if a will is held invalid, all of the property will be treated as if the decedent had never written or will. This means that it goes to the decedent's closest living relative, or, if there are not relatives who can be located, the state.

Can a Evanston, Illinois Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve convoluted legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Evanston, Illinois 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 Evanston

Evanston, Illinois is a municipality in Cook County, Illinois. It is a suburb of Chicago, and its population is estimated at about 75,000 people. Evanston is probably best known as the home of Northwestern University, which is one of the most prestigious undergraduate and graduate schools in the U.S., and home to one of highest-ranked law schools in the U.S. Evanston was officially incorporated in 1863, and grew rapidly during the industrial revolution. The popular building toys known as "Tinkertoys" were invented in Evanston, Illinois. Evanston is one of several cities which claim to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae, though the veracity this claim, and the claims of other cities, can't be confirmed. Modernly, Northwestern University makes up a significant portion of Evanston's economic activity, from the thousands of people it employs, and the students it brings to the community, who typically spend a lot of money. If you live in the Chicago/Evanston area, and need legal representation, an Evanston, Illinois lawyer would probably be able to meet your legal needs. Evanston's proximity to such a prestigious law school, as well as the huge city right next door, ensures that Evanston, Illinois lawyers must be far more sophisticated than the average small-town attorney.

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