Contested Wills in Bloomington, Indiana

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Bloomington, IN

In Bloomington, Indiana there are certain procedures allowing certain people to challenge the validity of a will. This is known 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 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 Bloomington, Indiana?

Courts in Bloomington, Indiana 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, 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.

A will can also be denied 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 instance) at the time the will was made, the will can still be invalidated.

If you successfully contest the will in Bloomington, Indiana, 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 Bloomington, Indiana 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 reputable lawyer in Bloomington, Indiana 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 Bloomington

Bloomington has been named a Tree City for more than 20 years and serves as the seat of Monroe County. Home to more than 70,000 Indiana residents, Bloomington plays host to a number of institutions of higher learning like Indiana University School of Law, Jacobs School of Music, and the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. Bloomington is also home to a number of experienced lawyers. Bloomington lawyers are licensed to practice through out the state and helped work on the movie Breaking Away which was filmed in Bloomington. It featured local quarries and a reenactment of Indiana University's Little 500 bicycle race.

Citizens and visitors of Bloomington are offered a thriving arts and cultural scene. Amateur theater companies like the University of Indiana Department of Theater and Drama, Bloomington Playwrights Project, and Theater of the People. Many performances are done at the famous Buskirk-Chumleuy Theater, a 616 seat vaudeville and movie house that was erected in 1922 and known locally as the "Indiana Theater." Many folks also frequent the happening music scene in Bloomington which hosts a large folk punk rock following. Bloomington is a popular concert tour stop for bands and fans come from around the nation to see their favorites play. 

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