Contested Wills in Billerica, Massachusetts

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Billerica, MA

In Billerica, Massachusetts there are specific procedures authorizing certain people to challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "will contest" or "contested will."

Occasionally, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a substantial portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for instance). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If there is a considerable amount of money or property at stake, a family member who was left out of the will might find it to be worth the time or money to contest it.

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 Billerica, Massachusetts?

Of course, a Billerica, Massachusetts court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some cases which render a will clearly invalid.

For instance, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

So, you've succeeded in contesting the validity of a Billerica, Massachusetts will. What happens to the property that was going to be distributed according to its terms? Usually, 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." Typically, this simply means that the assets will be passed on to their owner's closest living relative, normally 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. Consequently, the old will can be given effect.

Can a Billerica, Massachusetts Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve confusing legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Billerica, Massachusetts 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 Billerica

Billerica has a population of about 40,000 residents and is located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It is a very historic settlement, as it was founded in 1652 and officially incorporated in 1655. The city is home to several historic places, including the Fiske House, the Deacon Samuel House, Howe School, and the Jaquith House.

Billerica's bustling economy is fueled by several industrial and medical companies such as Pan Am Railways and Pharmalucence Company. Other companies located in the city are American Science Engineering and Lantheus Medical Imaging. Billerica's economy makes it a suitable place for persons seeking employment and residential opportunities.

The city also boasts an extensive sports and recreation program. Sports Illustrated magazine has recently listed the town as one the nation's top fifty cities for sports. Enthusiasts can visit the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica, the Rangeway Golf course, or the Country Club of Billerica for sports activities. Billerica also has a successful youth sports program including youth basketball, football, and little league baseball. The city is often referred to as the "Sportstown" of the state.

Cases filed by lawyers in Billerica, Massachusetts can be heard at the Middlesex Superior Court. The superior court has jurisdiction over a wide array of civil and criminal cases. Many Billerica lawyers find the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library system to be a valuable resource.

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