What Are the Steps to Contesting a Will?

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A will is a reflection of the intentions of a testator. However, where someone has reasons to believe that the contents of the will don’t reflect the decedent’s true intentions, then such a person can raise a contention. Suppose you have plans of contesting a will. In that case, the very first step for you should be to reach out to competent estate planning attorneys in Chicago for an assessment of whether your reasons for contention can warrant a revocation.

Contesting a will is not an easy process because it is both emotionally and financially draining. It is advisable not to launch the contestation process without legal representation because of the complexity of the issues that might arise. Chicago estate planning attorneys can help you understand best the steps to contesting a will.

Whether you have the locus standi

Locus standi, also known as legal standing, means the right to take legal action. When someone dies, lots of busybodies might come by seeking to acquire a share of the decedent’s estate. To establish a locus standi, you have to be someone who can be affected by the decision arising from a lawsuit. There are instances where a testator might have either erroneously or out of other reasons left the name of a beneficiary out of their will. An individual or an entity can bring a lawsuit to contest the validity of a will if they might have been beneficiaries in a prior will. Lack of locus standi is an immediate ground for revocation. If you have any intentions of contesting a will always ensure that you consult Chicago IL estate planning lawyers so that you can get information on legal standing and whether you qualify.

Timely filing

Legal procedures are very strict on time. Therefore immediately, you establish locus standi; the next step should be to move fast and launch your contention. For example, in Illinois, the contesting party should file a petition to contest within six months from the time a will was admitted into probate.

At Anthony J. Madonia & Associates, our estate planning attorneys in Chicago understand the importance of getting what is rightfully yours. Therefore our attorneys will always ensure that all due diligence is done and subsequently file your case within the requisite timelines. It is only fair that the rightful beneficiaries of a will receive their share of the decedent’s estate as soon as possible. If you feel that you qualify as a beneficiary, filing your contention fast is among the ways through which you get to expedite the process of distribution of the estate.

Grounds for contention

You might have the locus standi, file the petition for contention within the required time, but the two are null and void if your grounds are not valid. The four grounds for contention include:

  • The decedent lacked capacity to make a will
  • Will procured through fraud
  • There was an undue influence during the making of the will
  • The signing of the will did not follow proper formalities like execution and signing

The backup for grounds for contention is not further allegations but evidence to show the court that the grounds are true. A good estate plan lawyer Chicago will be able to access the evidence you intend to rely on and advise whether your case has a chance.

At Anthony J. Madonia & Associates, our estate planning attorneys in Chicago focus in on helping our clients know their legal options. One estate plan lawyer Chicago will ensure that all procedures leading to filing a contention to a will are followed and that your case is handled with the urgency it deserves.