Charlottesville Will Contest Attorney
Are you involved in a dispute with friends or family members, and it involves a will? If so, it is prudent you consult with a Charlottesville will contest attorney as soon as possible. These legal matters are often rife with challenges, and if not addressed quickly, they could spiral into a lengthy legal battle that may cost thousands of dollars and cumulative days of your time.
To potentially avoid this, call a Charlottesville will contest attorney to explore your options.
Planning a Will
A will is a document that is legally binding (when drafted correctly) and essentially lays out your last wishes. Most people relate a will to the naming of heirs who are to receive your assets. However, a will can also name legal guardians for children under the age of 18 or who have special disabilities. However, what happens if a will has not been drafted correctly or you think it has been tampered with? In this case, a lawyer should be sought.
The Importance of a Will
The importance of having a will cannot be overemphasized. Regardless of the value of your assets, you have the right to determine how and by whom those assets are managed and distributed upon your death. Even more importantly, if you have surviving minor children, a will is critical to express your choices as to who is to provide for their personal and financial care.
As important as having a will may be, however, there are often disputes or challenges that arise after a person dies even when he or she leaves behind a will. Once the will is probated or made public, the exact details of the will may cause tension, disagreement, or even shock to the family and affected parties.
These reactions may lead to will contests, trust contests, estate administration disputes, or other types of estate litigation among heirs, beneficiaries, trustees, executors, and administrators. Common grounds for such disputes include the following:
- Whether the will maker lacked the mental capacity at the time he or she drafted or signed the will;
- Whether the will maker was pressured or unduly influenced by someone to agree to those terms;
- Whether the will maker has another will or trust which supersedes or trumps this one;
- Whether the will maker was mistaken or induced by fraud to sign;
- Whether a surviving spouse is receiving all that he or she is entitled to under Virginia law.
- Whether the will was properly executed according to Virginia law;
- Whether the will is being properly understood or interpreted;
- Whether the executor or administrator is properly fulfilling their duties and administering the estate; and
- Whether the trustee is properly administering a trust.
A number of factual scenarios may give rise to a will contest, such as where a new will was recently executed by the persistence of a caregiver or trusted friend, or multiple versions of a will are produced. Other times, a relative believes that the will’s disbursement and terms are improper and do not conform to the true wishes of the decedent.
Along these lines, Virginia law prohibits a decedent from completely excluding their spouse from taking a portion of the estate. Virginia law provides that within 6 months from the date of probate of a will, a surviving spouse may make a claim to receive their portion of the estate, called an elective share, as guaranteed by statute.
Grounds to Challenge a Will
You cannot simply say that you believe the testator’s intent has not been correctly reflected. Nor can you give your opinion about the validity of the will without some kind of proof or evidence. In order to contest a will, you must be able to show:
- The testator was coerced
- The testator was in some way persuaded
- The will’s signature os fraudulent
- The testator was not mentally capable during the time the will was drafted
- The will was poorly executed
- There are multiple wills
A Charlottesville will contest attorney will need to investigate the situation and gather evidence that backs the claim. Every state has their own rules for this process, and these can be explained by MartinWren, P.C.
If you believe you have been wrongfully deprived of your inheritance, or a portion of it, you must act quickly to preserve your rights. Additionally, if you have reason to believe the decedent was incompetent or unduly influenced to sign a will, you should contact an experienced Virginia will contest attorney. At MartinWren, P.C., our Charlottesville will contest attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about Virginia’s legal requirements for valid wills and estate planning, and we couple that with our extensive litigation experience.
General FAQ ABout a Will Contest
What is a Will Contest, and can I contest a will?
As a Charlottesville will contest attorney might explain to you, a will can be challenged in a number of different ways. The most common include:
- Undue influence
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Multiple wills exist
In general at the very core of a will contest will be one party who believes the will does not reflect the intent of the testator. In order to challenge a will, a Chartlottesville will contest attorney should have to file a formal petition at the court nearest to the testator’s last residence. This petition must be correctly completed; otherwise the claim could be dismissed by the judge.
Do You Need a Charlottesville Will Contest Attorney?
In general, you should not contest a will without an attorney. These cases are not easy and often require extensive knowledge of the laws and procedures. Whether you are contesting a will, or you are an heir who is facing a contest from another party, it will be in your best interest to get advice from a Charlottesville will contest attorney. To learn more about your case, your options, and what you might expect, please call MartinWren, P.C. We are happy to listen to what you have to say and guide you in the right direction.