Contested Wills in Holyoke, Massachusetts

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Holyoke, MA

In Holyoke, 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.

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 Holyoke, Massachusetts?

There are various reasons that a Holyoke, Massachusetts 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 normally 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. Additionally, 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.

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 Holyoke, Massachusetts, 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 typically happen during a person's life. Typically, 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 Holyoke, Massachusetts Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will can be a perplexing, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. There is really no way around this. However, a reliable Holyoke, Massachusetts wills and estates attorney can minimize these problems, and make the process as painless as possible.

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

Life in Holyoke

Holyoke is named for Elizur Holyoke who, in 1660, explored the area that is today incorporated into Hampden County. Holyoke is a Massachusetts city in close proximity to Springfield and has classically been a haven for Irish immigrants. Holyoke hosts the United States largest Saint Partick's Day Parade which annually attracts nearly 500,000 visitors each year. Holyoke has recently seen a vast influx of Puerto Rican and Latino immigrants yielding an annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on the third week of July. The parade is complete with food, music, and more. It's organized as part of the Annual Hispanic Family Festival which is put on by La Familia Hispana Incorporated. The festival and parade have drastically increased in popularity over time and attract Latinos from across the northeast. Holyoke is called home by a number of lawyers as well. Holyoke lawyers are familiar with local Hampden County courts and advise on a variety of cases.  

Holyoke maintains a number of year-round attractions as well. Some of the attractions include the Holyoke Cana System, Mount Tom, shopping at Holyoke Mall, trails like Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, a collegiate baseball team, and most notably the Dinosaur Footprints Reservation where visitors can see perfectly preserved footprints from prehistoric dinosaurs along the Connecticut River. 

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