Contested Wills in Peoria, Illinois

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Peoria, IL

In Peoria, Illinois there are particular procedures permitting certain people to challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "will contest" or "contested will."

Occasionally, when a person who expected to be included in a will is left out, their natural assumption is that there was some mistake, or that the will was made through improper means, such as duress or fraud, or that the will is an outright forgery.

If a massive amount of money is involved, someone who was left out of a will, or not given what they were expecting, might believe that contesting the will is worth the time, money, and energy that doing so would require.

You should remember that a will contest commonly results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very combative. Considering the likelihood that other members of your family might be on the other side, it's clear that this can really damage a person's relationship with his or her family.

When Can a Will be Contested in Peoria, Illinois?

There are various reasons that a Peoria, Illinois court might hold a will to be invalid.

To be valid, a will must be a product of the testator's own free will. So, a will that the testator was forced or tricked into making is not valid, if the probate court finds out about the duress or trickery. Of course, wills are usually made many years before a person dies, so how can a person expect to prove duress or fraud if they suspect it? To begin with, it's not easy. It is possible, however. First of all, it's good to have as much documentation of the testator's affairs as possible. Any written statements concerning their desires on this matter will also be very useful, if there are any. Further, if the suspect gift is totally out of left field (property is left to someone that you know the testator didn't like, or barely knew, for instance), this might also support your position that the will was invalid. Of course, the testator can leave his or her money to whomever they want, so these facts, by themselves, will not be enough to prove fraud or duress.

Another thing to consider is the mental capacity of the person making the will. If, at the time the will was made, the testator was insane or heavily intoxicated, the will is likely to be held invalid by a court, if the underlying facts can be shown.

So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a Peoria, Illinois will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Typically, when a will is declared void, the decedent's assets will be treated as if he or she had died without a will. This is known as "intestacy." Normally, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, usually a spouse, children, siblings, or parents. If absolutely no relatives can be found, the property is passed to the state. If there is a previous will, which was revoked by the invalid will, a court might revive the old will. If the new will was found to be completely invalid (rather than just parts of it), it follows, then, that the revocation of the old will is invalid as well. Thus, the old will can be given effect.

Can a Peoria, Illinois Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because this can involve complicated legal issues, and be very emotionally draining, this is not something you want to go at alone. A seasoned lawyer in Peoria, Illinois can be very helpful in making sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

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

Life in Peoria

Peoria, Illinois is a city in Peoria County, of which it serves as the county seat. It has a population of about 115,000, making it the seventh-largest city in Illinois.

Peoria is named after the Peoria tribe of Native Americans. Peoria, Illinois is considered by many people, because of its demographics and mainstream values, to be the quintessential representation of the average American city, to the point that many marketers use the phrase "Will it play in Peoria?" as a shorthand for evaluating whether or not a product, service, piece of entertainment, etc. will appeal to a wide swath of the mainstream American public. Also, Peoria, Illinois is frequently used as a test market for new products, largely for the reasons just discussed.

Because Peoria, Illinois is such an accurate cross section of the United States, the lawyers of Peoria, Illinois are highly skilled in practicing the areas of law that average people are likely to face, like family law, personal injury, bankruptcy, etc.

So, the chances are very good that if you are in or around Peoria, Illinois, and need legal advice, there's a good chance that a Peoria, Illinois attorney will be able to help you with your issue.

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