Contested Wills in Springfield, Missouri

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Springfield, MO

It is permitted, in Springfield, Missouri, to go to court and claim that a will is invalid, in some cases. This is called a Will Contest.

Occasionally, when a person who expected to be included in a will is left out, their natural assumption is that there was some mistake, or that the will was made through improper means, such as duress or fraud, or that the will is an outright forgery.

If the decedent was fairly well-off, their will might involve a great deal of money or property. This is one of the general reasons, besides a general sense of exclusion, that a family member might expend the great deal of time and money necessary to contest a will.

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, Missouri?

A court in Springfield, Missouri will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.

For instance, a will obtained through duress (a threat of harm, typically physical) is invalid. Of course, duress is very difficult to prove after the fact, and the issue may not even come up until many years after it allegedly occurred, making proof even more difficult. Nonetheless, if the named beneficiary was in some type of position of power or trust with respect to the decedent, and is not someone who one would normally expect to get a large gift in a will (they're unrelated to the testator, for example), those facts alone might be enough to raise the suspicion of impropriety. Of course, those facts by themselves are not enough to prove 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, 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 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, Missouri 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 Springfield, Missouri 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 Springfield

Springfield, Missouri is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri. It has a population of approximately 160,000 people.

Springfield has a long and fascinating history. During the Civil War, Missouri was a border state, and its population was divided in its loyalty to the Union and the Confederacy. Both the Union and the Confederacy claimed Missouri, and its star was on the flags of both sides. It also had two separate governments, one loyal to the union, and one to the confederacy. Both purported to be the legitimate government of the entire state. There were many small skirmishes between rival towns and neighbors, essentially creating a war within a war. As a result, Springfield, MO was the site of many clashes during the war. Springfield, MO also gave rise to the "Wild West" era of American history. In 1865, there was a "quick draw" shootout in the town square. This was the only such shootout ever recorded in American history, even though they're now a staple of Western movies.

Modernly, Springfield is a thriving city, with an economy based on education, healthcare, manufacturing, and tourism. Kraft Foods and 3M, among other major corporations, have manufacturing facilities in Springfield, MO.

As a result, it goes without saying that there are many sophisticated and skilled attorneys in Springfield, MO. If you can think of a legal practice area, you can be almost certain that there's at least one (and probably more) Springfield, MO lawyer who practices it, and can help you with your legal problem.

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