Contested Wills in Taunton, Massachusetts

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Taunton, MA

In Taunton, Massachusetts 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, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a significant 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 large 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 often 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 Taunton, Massachusetts?

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

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.

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.

If you successfully contest the will in Taunton, 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 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 Taunton, Massachusetts Contested Will Attorney Help?

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

Founded in the year 1637, Taunton is one of the oldest cities in the entire U.S. It is the county seat of Bristol County, Massachusetts. The city boasts a rich legacy in industrial history. It has traditionally been known as "The Silver City" after its local silversmith operations.

Taunton still maintains its reputation as the producer of some of the world's finest silver products. A Taunton company recently produced the medals for the 1996 Summer Olympics as well as exclusive silverware for the White House. In addition to silver products, Taunton's economy emphasizes semiconductor, electronics, and silicon manufacturing.

Visitors to Taunton can stop by the Silver City Galleria, which is a large shopping center located conveniently near neighboring cities. A popular destination in Taunton is the Taunton Green Historic District. Each December the city of Taunton provides an elaborate light display at Taunton Green. As a result, Taunton has also earned the nickname of "The Christmas City".

Lawyers in Taunton, Massachusetts will usually process legal claims at the Taunton District Court. The district court is authorized to adjudicate a wide array of civil and criminal claims, including felony cases. Taunton lawyers are ready to provide you with professional assistance and advice.

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