If your father or mother did something totally out of the blue in his or her will and didn’t tell you about it, would you be shocked and hurt? Maybe that action meant many thousands of dollars and affected more than just you. What was the motivation, anyway? Would you feel helpless?
You might. But wills can – and are – challenged in court. In fact, it seems to be more prevalent now than before. But be warned. The chances of winning are generally slim.
There are four legal grounds for changing a will after someone has died.
- Undue Influence: If your parent was extensively pressured to change his or her will, you may have a successful challenge.
- Fraud: If your parent was tricked into signing, then the will is not valid.
- Improper Execution: The will might be thrown out by the court system if it was not written or executed correctly under state law where it was created.
- Lack of Capacity: Mental capability plays into the validity of a will if your parent was unable to think through the issues involved.
Before you go down this road, however, think carefully about the costs, both financial and in terms of relationships. Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC in Vermont can answer questions about wills and Estate Planning.