Moving past a loved one’s death can be hard. It can get even harder when you don’t believe the will they left behind truly represents their last wishes.
Issues popping up in probate aren’t novel, with more than one-third of people saying they, or someone they know, saw conflict arise from not having a comprehensive will. If you believe the intentions laid out aren’t an accurate representation of the deceased’s desires, then you could look to render it invalid.
You’ll likely have your chance to object once the will moves to probate court. If you have legal standing, you can contest the validity on several grounds:
- Forgery: The court can declare a will invalid if they suspect foul play. If someone dictated the will while pretending to be the testator, forged the signature or created the entire document without the knowledge of the deceased, the will probably won’t last long.
- Mental capacity: Your loved one must have been aware of what was going on when they made the will. They need to have a full understanding of what they’re doing, the assets they’re dispersing and who it will affect. This can lead to the use of an earlier will, or require you to rely on the rules set by Georgia law.
- Undue influence: You may become suspicious when a will shows up with drastic changes or unexpected additions. People that suddenly receive a much larger share of the estate may have used force, persuasion or guile to make their way into a larger cut.
- Properly witnessed: A will must be witnessed or notarized in some way to be considered valid by the court. If no one can testify to the accuracy of the will, then the court may not recognize it as a legal document.
Avoid the possible ratification of a fraudulent will by knowing the laws surrounding the process. Your understanding of what makes a will a legal document can be essential to navigating the probate process properly.