Contested Wills in South Bend, Indiana

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in South Bend, IN

In South Bend, 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 large amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

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 South Bend, Indiana?

A court in South Bend, Indiana will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.

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 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 South Bend, Indiana will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Generally, 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." Usually, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, typically 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. Therefore, the old will can be given effect.

Can a South Bend, 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 South Bend, 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 South Bend

South Bend, Indiana is the county seat of St. Joseph County. It has a population of about 101,000 residents and known for being the cultural and economic hub for the "Michiana" region. South Bend's economy consists largely of health care, education, and small business. Many South Bend residents work at the nearby University of Notre Dame.

In addition, South Bend, Indiana is home to many large corporations. These include Honeywell, Crowe Horwath, and AM General. Schurz Communications and Martin's Supermarkets are headquartered in South Bend. Part of South Bend's economic success can be attributed to the city's efforts at improving its telecommunications infrastructure.

The culture of South Bend, Indiana is a unique blend of traditional cultures mixed with modern-day celebrations. Currently, Fat Tuesday and Dyngus Day are still celebrated annually. In particular, the city was infused with many Polish traditions during its early days in the 19th century. The city also hosts a number of large events including the World Pulse Festival and the South Bend Reggae Festival. Popular tourist attractions in South Bend Indiana include the South Bend Museum of Art and the Center for History.

South Bend lawyers offer legal assistance and services in a broad range of fields. Lawyers in South Bend, Indiana often represent their clients at the branch of St. Joseph County Courthouse that operates in the city. A South Bend attorney can represent you if you have questions or issues regarding the city's laws and ordinances.

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