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Who can challenge a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2020 | Probate & Estate Litigation |

It is important to know that not everybody can challenge a will. You need to be in a certain position to be able to do so, and this is most commonly defined by how you are related to the deceased. You need to be considered an “interested person” in the eyes of the law to be able to challenge a will. According to FindLaw, interested persons tend to fall into three different categories: beneficiaries of a will that is no longer valid, beneficiaries of a will that was written after the one currently being held valid, and intestate heirs, if they exist. 

Who are beneficiaries? 

These are individuals with a direct right to challenge whatever will is currently in place. The “closest” beneficiary to the deceased is typically the spouse, followed by children. Beyond this, it is possible for parents or grandparents to challenge a will (depending upon the existence of children or a spouse). It is also potentially possible for entities like charities or churches to challenge wills. There have even been cases of wills being challenged in the name of a pet. 

What is an intestate heir? 

If an individual dies “intestate,” this means that he or she has died without a will. Dying without a will means that the will is automatically subject to probate, and it will follow a “typical” line of inheritance, starting with a spouse, then children, and then other relatives of the deceased. Unsurprisingly, persons who die intestate have a high potential of having their non-existent wills challenged. 

In order to challenge a will, you need to be closely related to the deceased in question.