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Should I challenge my parent’s will?

Losing a parent is a devastating experience for children at any age. Besides the sadness and grief that comes with this type of loss, you can also find it very difficult to know what to do without the guidance of that parent.

Hopefully, your mom or dad leaves a will explaining at least some of their wishes, from funeral arrangements to directions on how to distribute their estate and explanations of trusts and other planning tools he or she set up. However, there may be reasons you will want to consider contesting the will.

Too many people assume that contesting a will is only done by scorned parties who feel they were somehow shortchanged by a decedent’s wishes. However, there are a number of legitimate reasons why people challenge wills, including those listed here.

  1. Multiple versions of the will, making it difficult to tell which is the correct one.
  2. Concerns regarding your parent’s mental well-being when the will was drafted.
  3. There are illegal or unenforceable clauses.
  4. The will is very outdated and no longer reflective of current circumstances.
  5. Details or values of property and assets are inaccurate.
  6. There was no one who witnessed the signing of the will.
  7. The will was forged or procured by fraud.

Contesting a will for these or any other reason can be very complicated, especially in the wake of a devastating loss. However, that does not mean you should ignore your legal options to challenge your parent’s will if you have concerns about its validity or your parent’s state of mind at the time he or she drafted it.

If you have questions about contesting a will, consulting an attorney will be wise. With legal guidance, you can assess your options and make some difficult – but necessary – decisions. 

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