Will contests

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
A will may be contested by relatives or beneficiaries. There are generally four grounds for contesting (KUN-test-ing) a will; one: that the deceased was incompetent when he or she made the will, two: that the deceased was acting under undue influence or fraud when he or she made the will, three: that the will has been improperly executed, or four: that there is a later valid will. If the contest (KAHN-test) is successful, all or part of the will may be thrown out. However, if the contest is unsuccessful, the persons contesting the will usually won't receive anything from the estate or will receive only one dollar because of the will's no contest clause. However, some legal actions are not considered to be a 'contest'. For instance, a person bringing forward a later version of a will he or she believes is genuine will not lose the right to inherit, even if the will contest is lost. In order to contest a will, a petition must be filed with the court stating the grounds for the contest. There's a limited time to file a will contest. The more closely a will follows the legal requirements, the less likely it is that a successful will contest will be brought. Updating your will periodically can also help avoid contests. For more information about contesting a will, please contact an attorney.
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