Your Options When Contesting A Will
We all hope our loved ones leave behind wills and estate documents clearly spelling out their wishes without controversy. However, this is not always the case. Some individuals lack the capacity to make a valid will. Others may be coerced into signing documents through undue influence or fraud.
In certain cases, the necessary legal formalities may not have been followed to create a legally binding document. Both Massachusetts and Vermont have laws and procedures for challenging the validity of a will.
Common Reasons To Contest A Will
When an individual makes a will, they must be of “sound mind” and have “testamentary capacity,” meaning that they must be able to understand what they are doing.
In many cases, an elderly person who suffers from an illness affecting mental facilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or late-stage cancer, may not have the sufficient mental capacity required to sign a will. Elderly individuals may also be taken advantage of by caretakers, friends, or even family and coerced into signing a will through undue influence or even fraud.
Our team of litigators at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, is prepared to represent you or your family in a will contest, including cases involving:
- Undue influence
- Lack of mental capacity
- Failure to observe legal formalities
- Breach of fiduciary duty
If you or a loved one has been negatively affected by a change to a will or the creation of a new will, you may have the right to challenge the validity of that will. If you do not contest a will within the specific time allowed by the probate court, you may be forever barred from doing so.
Helping You After Your Loss
For a consultation with an estate planning lawyer at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, contact our firm. We have offices in North Adams and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and Bennington, Vermont, to serve you. Call us at 413-663-3200 in Massachusetts or at 802-442-3233 in Vermont.