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Many people are practical about their eventual demise and draft wills that set forth how they wish their estate to be handled after their death. However, simply because a person who dies has a will, it does not mean that the process of distributing an estate will be seamless. In many instances, one or more parties may contest the validity of the will. If you recently lost a loved one and wish to contest a person’s will or fight for admission of the will into probate, it is essential to retain a lawyer experienced in handling these types of matters. At Jainchill & Beckert, LLC, our proficient Plainville and Bristol will contest attorneys can analyze your case and guide you through the process of fighting to protect your interests. Collectively, our lawyers have more than five decades of experience helping parties with will contests and probate matters, and we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.Grounds for Contesting a Will
When a person with a will passes away, the person’s heirs will typically submit the will for probate, after which the court will determine whether the will is valid. During the probate process will contests can occur when a party that believes the will is invalid. Notably, only people with standing may challenge the validity of a will. In other words, a contest may only be set forth by someone whose legal rights or interests may be affected by the manner in which the will dictates the estate should be distributed. Examples of people with standing are spouses and children. Friends and companions typically do not have standing.
After standing is established, there are numerous grounds under which the validity of a will may be challenged. For example, a person may argue that the deceased person lacked testamentary capacity at the time the will was drafted and signed. In other words, the deceased person was not of sound mind or reasoning when the will was executed and therefore was unable to understand the meaning of its terms and provisions. Similarly, a person may retain a will contest attorney in Plainville or Bristol to argue that the deceased person was subject to undue influence when the will was signed, and therefore the will does not reflect the deceased person’s true desires. Undue influence may be found in cases involving fraudulent inducement or duress.
In some instances, will contests arise out of technical legal issues. For example, if the will submitted for probate was not the deceased person’s final will or a subsequent addendum was executed, a person may argue that the former will should not control the distribution of the estate. Additionally, Connecticut law requires that a will must be written and must be signed by the person making the will, as well as two witnesses who sign in the presence of the testator. If these rules are not complied with, the will may be deemed invalid. Regardless of the reasons for challenging a will, the party arguing in favor of the admission of the will generally bears the burden of proving the will is valid.The Process of Contesting a Will
A person who believes that a will is invalid must file an objection to the admission of the will with the probate court, setting forth the reasons for contesting the will. The court will then schedule a hearing and send notice to all other interested parties informing them of the contest and the hearing date and time. During the hearing, a Plainville or Bristol will contest lawyer can help the beneficiaries of the estate present their objections or inquiries regarding the admission of the will into probate. After the hearing, the court will schedule a trial date, and the parties contesting the will or seeking its admission must complete any discovery or investigation prior to that time. During the trial, the party who contests the will can present any evidence demonstrating that the will is invalid, and its admission should be denied. At the conclusion of the trial, the court will issue a verdict regarding the validity of the will.Speak to a Capable Estate Litigation Lawyer in Plainville and Bristol
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be emotionally taxing under normal circumstances, but when the validity of a departed person’s will is called into question, it can be stressful and costly to contend with the probate process. If you wish to contest a will or oppose a contested will, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The capable attorneys of Jainchill & Beckert, LLC, possess the skills and experience needed to help you pursue your desired outcome, and we can set forth persuasive arguments on your behalf. We have an office in Plainville, and our will contest lawyers serve people in Plainville and Bristol and in other cities throughout Connecticut, like Farmington, Hartford, Southington, and New Britain. You can reach us to schedule a meeting through our online form or by calling us at (860) 351-5254.