The review of the last will and testament followed shortly after the passing of your loved one. But once the reading was through, you were sure there was a mistake. When things don’t quite line up, you might be able to take your matter before the probate court and ask them to take a closer look.
More than a third of people have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, conflict within the family because of an estate plan that they found lacking. If you don’t think your loved one’s wishes are being accurately represented, you do have some means of recourse.
Putting disputes to rest
There are restrictions to staking a claim that you’ll need to be aware of:
- Warranted claims: There are a few reasons to challenge a will, like if you suspect inappropriate influences, insufficient mental capacity or outright fraud. Even without indications of wrongdoing, you can contest a will may if it seems to fail to account for major life changes, like a recent marriage or having children. If any of these factors result in an inaccurate will, you can try to bring it to the attention of the court.
- Personal interests: The courts may limit the process for addressing a will is to interested parties, such as family members, those with claims against the estate or people with assertions on property rights.
- Time frames: You can contest an estate once the executor has opened it, which typically happens within 30 days of the passing of the decedent. Even after the courts close an estate at the end of probate, you could petition them to reopen it with a strong reason.
Make sure your loved ones final wishes are true to their last intentions. Innocent causes like out-of-date wills to more nefarious objectives like familial subterfuge could all be grounds for a second look. Knowing what qualifies can be crucial to making sure things are set right.