The chances of contesting a will depend on many factors.
A successful will contest depends on several factors, including the type of document being contested, the jurisdiction where it was created and executed, whether or not there are any other living relatives who may be able to inherit property.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about your chances of successfully contesting a will.
Who is Eligible to Contest a Will and Win?
Generally, anyone who has an interest in the outcome of a will contest is eligible to bring legal action.
An individual must be able to prove that he or she would have inherited property if not for the existence of this document.
However, only individuals with an “interest” are permitted to contest wills and win (i.e., beneficiaries under the last will).
It should also be noted that any person related within certain degrees can file such a claim against their relative’s estate.
Even non-relatives may file claims depending on state law. However, the chances usually aren’t too good because it’s difficult proving your case without having kinship ties to a deceased family member(s).
How Long Does it Take to Contest a Will?
Once the contest is filed, it takes time for a court to make its ruling.
Typically this process may take anywhere from a few months up to a year depending on how quickly documents are reviewed and processed by courts.
It can be even longer if there’s an appeal involved in the proceedings.
Some people have been known to successfully waive attorney fees when filing a suit against another party within their own country or state, but chances of winning do seem to be significantly lower than that of hiring legal representation outside your home jurisdiction.
At best, you could probably expect about a 20% success rate without any additional help.
Is It Worth It to Contest a Will?
Contesting a will isn’t for everyone.
If you’re willing to accept the chances of success or failure, then it’s worth looking into if your current circumstances permit such legal action (i.e., do not contest wills without an attorney).
It is important that you understand all of the changes involved before deciding whether or not this is something you can handle on your own.
Reviewing these factors first-hand may be useful in helping one see what his/her chances are at successfully contesting a will and winning against other parties within their home country and state jurisdiction(s).
However, hiring legal representation outside your home region usually increases chances significantly more than just doing it by yourself because attorneys who practice law abroad are usually more familiar with the local laws, customs, and chances of success.
On What Grounds Can You Contest a Will?
It is possible to contest a will on several different grounds, but chances of success are higher when you base your case around the following three major points:
1. Invalid document(s):
if there’s clear evidence that at least one document within the estate was not signed correctly or doesn’t meet other required conditions, then chances are good for having it invalidated.
If another party has admitted to forging documents in order to get their way during proceedings (i.e., threats), chances are also high of winning this type of claim against them and any others involved who were actively helping with the cover-up.
3. Undue influence:
This involves proving through witnesses and /or circumstantial evidence how someone took advantage of a vulnerable person in order to coerce him/her into changing their will(s) as they see fit.
Ultimately, chances of success are higher when you have strong evidence or proof that invalidates at least one document within an estate and can prove beyond reasonable doubt how this was done with intent by another party who had no legal right to do so.
However, it is also possible for those with limited resources (i.e., means), but clear evidence against another individual’s wrongdoing during proceedings may be successful on some grounds without having any representation outside your home region if your case involves certain types of documentation violation.
Otherwise, chances tend to remain low depending on what type of support do or don’t have from experienced professionals who can help present your case in the best way possible.
What to Do If You Decide to Contest a Will?
If you’ve come this far and decided that contesting is something you want or need, then chances are good for success if done with professional legal representation (i.e., attorney).
However, even with it, most cases will be difficult without some type of proof against another party’s wrongdoing during proceedings unless there was clear evidence of document(s) violation.
What is the Process of Contesting a Will?
If you decide to contest a will, chances of success are higher if done with legal representation outside your home country and state jurisdiction because attorneys who practice law abroad usually have more experience in the local laws and chances of winning.
The process is simple for those based at home:
- File paperwork through probate court (i.e., petition)
- Notify other parties involved via certified mail or personal service by an officer from that same courthouse
- Attend hearings as scheduled before judge(s) while providing any additional evidence found along the way against another party’s wrongdoing during initial proceedings.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Do the Work?
Finding an attorney can be difficult without any type of referral from people you trust or reputation online in order to get estimates beforehand.
Therefore, chances remain low if done through personal networks only unless that is where you already have some professional acquaintances who recommend competent services available out there willing to take on such cases for reasonable prices (i.e., contingency fee).
How Long Do You Have to Challenge a Will?
Usually, you have a limited time frame for challenging a will successfully without losing chances before it gets probated and becomes part of the estate.
However, there may be exceptions depending on what type of document(s) were used during proceedings or if any requests for reconsideration were filed with judge(s).
Want to Boost Your Chances of Successfully Contesting a Will?
The chances of successfully contesting a will can vary depending on your particular legal situation. For more information about this subject, continue reading our blog for more helpful articles.