answers to your divorce questions

« Back to Home

Contesting A Will

Posted on

The United States justice system is unique because it's not about closed-door processes. Many of the matters that come before the court allow for the knowledge and input of the public, including will filling. After the death of an individual, certain people have a legal right to contest the will if they have concerns about its validity. Learn more about this process.


The court does not serve as a stomping ground for those individuals who simply want to take their personal grievances out with another person. For this reason, there are set criteria and guidelines in place that determine when a will can be contested. 

Typically, you need to prove that the will was signed under duress, that the individual lacked the mental capacity to complete the document, the will does not meet state guidelines, such as having the appropriate number of signatures, or that the document is not authentic. 

If you can successfully argue and prove one of these facts, you are likely to be successful. Additionally, you must also be a direct heir to the will or someone who would be directly affected by the outcome of the filing. 


Having legal grounds to contest the will is just the beginning, you also need to file. The most critical matter when it comes to this part of the process is time. All states have a limit on the process. In some states, you may have around a month after the individual's death and the filing of the will to contest it. 

In other states, the time limit last for years. Keep in mind; if you and the deceased live in two different states, you must file the contest based on the guidelines of the state in which the deceased lived. 


Provided the time deadline is met, after the filing of the contest, a judge will review the matter. The judge will look for proof that the will meets the necessary criteria. If the judge determines that the will is invalid, he or she can toss the will out. 

In this instance, a previously prepared will would become the benchmark. If there is no other will, the judge can use state guidelines and discretion to determine how the estate of the deceased will be distributed. The latter of these two processes typically takes a longer time to complete. 

Do you question the validity of the will? Determine whether or not you have legal standing to make your argument in court. Contact an attorney who can assist you in facilitating the filing process. Visit a site like for more information.