Contested Wills in Wilmington, North Carolina

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

A will is typically contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, particularly if the testator's motives are not clear. They will usually assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.

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 Wilmington, North Carolina?

A court in Wilmington, North Carolina 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, 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 substantial 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 Wilmington, North Carolina, 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.

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Can a Wilmington, North Carolina Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often challenging, and never fun. However, the entire process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a knowledgeable Wilmington, North Carolina attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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Life in Wilmington

Wilmington is in New Hanover County, North Carolina.  It is the eighth most populated city in the state, with a population of 362,315 people.  It was named after Spencer Compton, the Prime Minister under King George II.  Also, in 2003 the city was recognized as "A Coast Guard City" by the United States Congress. 

Some popular attractions are Airlie Gardens, Cape Fear Serpentarium, North Carolina Aquarium, Screen Gems Studios, USS North Carolina Battleship & Museum, Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, and Fourth Friday Gallery Nights.

Top employers of the city include Corning, Verizon Wireless, General Electric, and Pharmaceutical Product Development. 

Wilmington is also home to many law firms and law offices that train excellent attorneys to handle any and every legal inquiry.

Famous residents include Sophia Bush, Chelsea Cooley, Alge Crumpler, Roman Gabriel, Joseph Gallison, Ed Hinton, Jana Kramer, James Lafferty, and Trot Nixon.

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