An individual creates a will to describe how his or her finances and assets are to be distributed upon his or her death. Most of the time, the Decedent’s estate is distributed according to the will. Occasionally, the Decedent’s surviving members will contest the contents of the will.
Surviving family members will contest the validity of a will for various reasons. For example, sentimental attachment to property or the belief that property was distributed unfairly may spark a will contest. Whatever the reason, Missouri law requires that a will be contested within 6 months of the Decedent’s death. This is known as the statute of limitations. A will contested after the passing of the statute of limitations will most likely be barred unless it fits in into an exemption.
An individual contesting a will must have a legal reason to believe the will is invalid. A disagreement with a will’s provisions is insufficient.
Some examples of a legal basis to contest a will include:
Lack of Capacity
An individual must have the mental capacity to understand the magnitude and contents of the will at the time of its execution. Whenever an individual lacks the mental capacity to execute a will, it may be presumed that he or she did not understand the will’s contents. A will may be invalidated as a result.
Wills are executed to distribute assets in accordance with the testator’s desires. Wills are not executed to distribute assets according to the desires of another. On occasion, another person–be it a family member or an interested party–may unfairly influence the testator into adding or removing certain will provisions. Undue influence alters the testator’s true intentions.
Missouri law maintains strict requirements in order to execute a will. At the time of execution, a testator must be of sound mind and he or she must execute the will before two witnesses. If any of the aforementioned requirements are not met, the will may be invalidated.
Contact a St. Louis Probate Attorney Today
Contesting a will is a complicated process. If you believe a loved one’s will was improperly executed, seek legal counsel immediately. At the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp, we will evaluate the contents of a will in order to determine whether or not there is sufficient legal basis for a will contest. Schedule a consultation by calling (636) 947-3600 today.