October 16, 2006
You neighbor just received terrible news. Her mother, who was an elderly widow, has passed away. Although your neighbor was estranged from her mother for a number of years before her passing, she is noticeably upset. Soon thereafter, your neighbor learns that she has received only a very small sum in her mother’s Will, or even worse, that she has been intentionally omitted altogether. She is hurt, shocked and outraged. She decides that she wants to contest her mother’s Will because if she succeeds, she will inherit a sizeable sum from the estate.
While unhappiness with the dispositions in a Will alone is not sufficient, there are various grounds upon which a Will may be successfully contested. Knowledge of these grounds is crucial when deciding whether a Will contest should be undertaken. The most common grounds for challenging a Will include lack of mental competence and undue influence, although other less commonly used grounds, such as fraud, also exist.
To validly execute a Will, the person making the Will must be at least 18 years old, mentally competent, and free from undue influence. The Will must be signed...
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by: Gina M. Barry, Esquire