When Can You Contest a Will?

Losing a loved one and the grief that comes with that can be extremely difficult to overcome. When you have questions about the estate and tensions run high among heirs, things can become even harder to face. If you have issues with a will and are considering contesting it, read on as we discuss when it may be appropriate to contest a will.

Reasons to Contest an Arizona Will

In Arizona, there are reasons that are specific reasons you may be legally allowed to contest a will. Some of these are as follows:

  • Improper execution: In Arizona, a will can be contested if it was not executed in accordance with the laws of the state.
  • Testamentary capacity was lacking: If the testator, the person making out the will, was not of sound mind when the will was executed, this could be grounds for contesting it.
  • Fraud, duress, or excessive influence: If the testator was coerced into signing a will or if there is suspected fraud, this is grounds for contesting the will.
  • Revoked by testator: If the will was revoked by its creator, it could be challenged.

The Process for Contesting a Will

If one of the above reasons applies to the will in question, you will want to contact an attorney specializing in contested wills. The process can be complicated, and there are several steps you must follow. Listed below are the steps commonly required:

  1. File a petition to the probate court.
  2. Interested parties must be contacted. These may include heirs or other beneficiaries named in a previous will or those who are due to inherit under the laws of intestacy.
  3. Provide the burden of proof. If you contest a will, you will be required to prove it invalid.
  4. There is a statute of limitations in Arizona. This means that the will must be contested within four years of the testator’s death.

Contesting a will can be a complicated, lengthy process. Legal advice from an attorney experienced with probate law is a must. They can answer your questions and review your findings so that they can help you to decide if this is a suit you want to pursue.

Reaching a Decision

The probate court will study all of the evidence that you present to demonstrate that the will should be invalidated. The court will hear all of the testimony and review the physical evidence before making a decision.

The court may decide that the will is valid and should stand. If this is the case, distributions will be made according to its terms. If the person contesting the will still disagree with the decision of the court, they may appeal it to a higher court.

If the will is found to be invalid, then the court will distribute the assets of the estate according to the law of intestacy. This decision is also available for an appeal if the heirs disagree with the judgment rendered by the court.

Contact Us for Help Today

The Law Offices of William D. Black have probate experience and are available to answer any estate questions that you may have. If there is a problem with an estate and you are an interested party, you may be eligible to contest it. Call today so we can review your case and develop a plan to ensure the will is carried out the way your loved one wishes.