Sometimes, family members of a recently-deceased person in Waverly, Ohio will attempt to claim that a will is invalid, normally because it leaves them out of it. This process 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.

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

When Can a Will be Contested in Waverly, Ohio?

Courts in Waverly, Ohio will not let a person contest a will unless they have an excellent reason. There are, nonetheless, some allegations which will always invalidate a will, if they are proven.

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 usually 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. Further, 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.

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.

There are many other facts that might make a will invalid, and therefore serve as grounds to contest a will. If a will is effectively contested in Waverly, Ohio, and held to be invalid, this normally results in the property being distributed as if the decedent had died intestate (without a will). This means that it will usually go to the decedent's closest living relative.

Can a Waverly, Ohio Contested Will Attorney Help?

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