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Understanding Contested Wills in Illinois

Posted on in Estate Planning

Tinley Park contested estate attorneyWhen someone dies and leaves a will, that will is probably going to end up going through probate, the legal process of proving, settling, and finalizing the will. The vast majority of wills go through probate without incident, but every once in a while, a will is contested for its validity. Typically, the person who is contesting the will is unhappy with the will in some way and attempts to have the will thrown out. 

Who Can Contest a Will?

In Illinois, a person must have “standing” to contest a will, meaning that they must be affected in some way by the will. The person must have a direct, financial, and existing interest that would be negatively affected if the will were to be accepted by the court.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, those wishing to contest a will must file a petition with the court within six months of the will being admitted to probate in order to have their petition heard. Any petitions filed after the six-month period will not be considered.

Legal Grounds for Invalidating a Will

A court will not invalidate a will just because someone does not like its terms. There must be some sort of legally valid reason present for a will to be found invalid. These grounds may include:

Undue Influence

If a person is unable to exercise his or her own wishes because of outside pressure or coercion, then the will may be able to be invalidated. In order for the court to throw the will out, it must be proven that the undue influence was directly connected to the will and was taking place at the time the will was made.

Lack of Mental Capacity

If the person who created the will was not able to remember his or her own children, understand what property he or she owned, or form a plan of what to do with that property, an interested party might be able to argue that the person was not of sound mind when the will was created.

Fraud or Forgery

An interested party may argue to have a will invalidated if they can prove that there was some sort of trick played on the person whose will it was and that they did not know what they were signing. Fraud or forgery may also be proved if there is evidence that the will was altered or replaced after it was signed.

Consult With an Oak Forest Contested Wills Lawyer

Contesting a will can be an extremely long, difficult, and expensive process. If you are concerned with the validity of a loved one’s will, or if you need to defend the validity of a will that is being contested, you should get help from a knowledgeable Orland Park estate planning attorney who can help guide you in the right direction. The lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C. are well-versed in estate law and can provide you with the legal representation you need. Call our office at 708-226-9044 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-the-grounds-for-contesting-a-will-3505208

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/200.00.pdf

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