The death of a loved one can affect each Arizona resident differently. You may like to look back on your loved one’s life with fondness of the loving times you shared together, or you may feel an overwhelming sense of grief that makes it difficult for you to face the situation. Because reactions to death can bring about a variety of feelings, each person may handle their losses in their own ways.
If your loved one created a will, you may have great interest in moving through the probate process quickly in order to settle his or her affairs. However, the possibility exists that you could find issue with the document that has you feeling concerned. In some cases, the problems may prove significant enough to contest the will. Of course, in order to do so, you must have grounds to take such legal action.
Four legal grounds exist that could allow you to contest the will. The first reason relates to the signature on the document. Because wills and other estate planning documents have legal significance, great importance lies in ensuring that those documents’ creation took place in accordance with state law. If you believe that the signing of the will did not take place following the correct legal procedures, you could have reason to contest the validity of the document.
The second reason to contest a will involves your loved one’s testamentary capacity. If he or she did not have the ability to understand the value of the assets involved, who should receive those assets and what impact signing the will would have, he or she likely did not have the testamentary capacity to create or sign the document. As a result, the will may not be valid.
When individuals become physically or mentally weaker due to old age, illness or an accident, their vulnerability to outside influences increases. Unfortunately, some parties may attempt to take advantage of people in vulnerable states in hopes of gaining financial or personal benefits. If you believe that an outside party — such as a caretaker, neighbor or family member — took such action and unduly influenced your loved one in hopes of gaining a portion or all of the estate, you may wish to contest the will.
Wills could also face the risk of being created through fraudulent means. A person could trick or otherwise manipulate your loved one into signing a will without his or her fully understanding what he or she signed. This type of scenario constitutes fraud and makes the will invalid.
Contesting a will can take time and effort, but you may feel the need to take such steps in order to ensure that your loved one’s true final wishes are recognized.