The traditional “reading of the will” is a ritual that fascinates popular culture. It is a reality depicted in any number of television shows, movies and books. This rite provides ample material for entertainment writers precisely because it has the potential to be dramatic. Unfortunately, if loved ones have not been alerted in advance to the contents of a will, the reading of a will can inspire a host of negative feelings among those loved ones left behind. Among those feelings may be a sense of outrage, confusion or anger if it seems that the contents of a will do not accurately reflect the true wishes of the loved one who has passed on. When it seems that any terms of a will are “just not right,” someone who has either been included or excluded as a named beneficiary may be able to contest that will in court with the aid of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Contesting a Will: Considerations
One of the most important considerations you will have to ponder before committing to a will contest is whether the “fight” is worth its potential consequences. Will contests tend to be highly emotional affairs, as they are usually colored by significant in-fighting among loved ones. If you believe that bringing a will contest will help your loved one’s true wishes become apparent and allows those wishes to be respected, you may have good reason to place yourself in a position to be affected by in-fighting. But if bringing a will contest may or may not be in the best interests of your living loved ones, you may want to speak with an attorney about any potential alternative routes you could use to bring the truth to light.
If you have questions about contesting a will (or questions about how you can prevent your own will from being contested someday), please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney today. Contesting a will can be a complex process. And although there are times when such contests are brought out of spite, anger or confusion, there are other times when will contests legitimately help to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are fully realized. If you believe that you have grounds for a legitimate will contest, please do not be embarrassed about working with an attorney to bring one forward. If you are correct, and contesting your loved one’s will may ultimately help to ensure that the loved one’s wishes are accurately reflected and respected, you will be doing your loved one a service by filing legal action.
A law firm has extensive experience assisting individuals with will and estate contests, and would be happy to answer any questions you have. Speaking with an attorney will not commit you to filing a will contest. Having a confidential conversation will simply empower you to make an informed decision moving forward. Should you ultimately decide to file legal action, your attorney can provide you with professional guidance and support.