Contested Wills in Chesterfield, Missouri

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Chesterfield, MO

In Chesterfield, Missouri there are particular procedures permitting certain people to challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "will contest" or "contested will."

Sometimes, testators leave out of their wills people who might normally expect to inherit a large portion of the testator's estate (spouses, for instance). This might lead them to assume, correctly or not, that the will was a mistake.

If a lot of money, or some particularly valuable property, is at stake, the person who was left out might want to go to court and allege that the will was invalid. When left out of a will, a family member might naturally assume that some kind of mistake has been made, whether this is really true or not.

Bringing legal action against anyone, let alone a family member, is not a decision that you should rush into. Contesting a will, especially if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Obviously, this is something to consider.

When Can a Will be Contested in Chesterfield, Missouri?

There are several reasons that a Chesterfield, Missouri court might hold a will to be invalid.

For example, 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 considerable initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly enough to prove duress.

Another fact that might invalidate a will is the mental incompetence of the testator. Wills must be a product of a person's volition. A will cannot be honestly voluntary unless the testator knows what they're doing. Accordingly, if the testator is mentally incompetent at the time he or she makes the will, the will cannot take effect. You should be aware, however, that this test applies at the time the will is made. So, if the testator is not mentally competent at the time of death, but was when the will was made, the will is valid.

If you successfully contest the will in Chesterfield, Missouri, 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 normally happen during a person's life. Normally, 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 Chesterfield, Missouri Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often hard, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a reliable Chesterfield, Missouri attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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

Life in Chesterfield

Chesterfield, Missouri is a city of approximately 47,000 people.

It is located a relatively short distance (about 25 miles) west of St. Louis, Missouri, the second-largest city in the state. This allows easy access to the many attractions St. Louis offers, such as fine dining, theater, art museums, and sporting events.

For those who have jobs in St. Louis, but prefer to live in a smaller, quieter town, Chesterfield is a good option to consider. Its quiet, suburban character makes it a good, safe place to settle down and raise a family. However, if you still have an itch for the city life, its close proximity to St. Louis means you'll be able to enjoy the excitement a large city has to offer, pretty much whenever you want.

Chesterfield, Missouri is also a very affluent community - with a median family income of over ,000, and a per capita income of over ,000. Less than 3% of the population of Chesterfield lives below the poverty line. It should come as no surprise, then, that the people who live in Chesterfield tend to be very successful and well-educated.

Accordingly, Chesterfield, Missouri lawyers have to be ready to take on some fairly sophisticated cases. This means that, when you hire a Chesterfield, Missouri attorney, it's a near certainty that they'll be able to handle whatever legal issues you can throw at them.

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