Contested Wills in Springfield, Massachusetts

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Springfield, MA

In Springfield, 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.

You should remember that a will contest frequently 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 Springfield, Massachusetts?

There are numerous reasons that a Springfield, 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 Springfield, 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 Springfield, Massachusetts Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve convoluted legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Springfield, 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 Springfield

Springfield, MA is the largest city on the Connecticut River, and the seat of Hampden County. It has a population of around 153,000 people.

Like many cities in New England, Springfield, MA has a long and rich history, much of it associated with Colonial times and the American Revolutionary War. Shortly after the Revolutionary War ended, Springfield became the site of the first populist uprising in the United States. Known as Shays' Rebellion, this revolt resulted in a fundamental change in the U.S. government, leading to the abandonment of the Articles of Confederation in favor of the Constitution which we use today. Obviously, many of the drafters of the Constitution were lawyers, and this tradition of excellence in the legal profession continues in Springfield, MA today.

Springfield, MA is commonly referred to as the "City of Progress" - and it has been home to many individuals and movements that have advanced society for the better. For example, many inventions that made the industrial revolution possible were invented in Springfield. Also, prior to and during the Civil War, Springfield, MA was one of the major centers for the abolitionist movement, with many of Springfield, MA's lawyers defending slaves who had escaped the South.

Of course, there are still many skilled and dedicated lawyers practicing law in Springfield, MA. And if you are facing a legal problem, a Springfield, MA lawyer can almost certainly help.

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