Helping You Through Times of Change

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Estate Planning
  4.  » Why might family members contest a will during probate?

Why might family members contest a will during probate?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2020 | Estate Planning

Whenever a family member contests, or tries to argue against, certain parts of a will, probate becomes more complicated.

If the writer of the will was unduly influenced or distressed during the process, it may mean the beneficiaries have a reason to interrupt probate.

Probate issues

According to California Legislative Information, probate is the legal process of authenticating someone’s will. During this time, a beneficiary may argue that the deceased person, known as the testator, lacked the mental capacity to fully understand what he or she wrote.

If this happened, the deceased person may gift large amounts of money to only one beneficiary or leave someone off the will altogether. Some people choose to challenge this legally during probate, when the executor is finalizing the deceased person’s wishes. Filing an objection against the probate in a will leads to a summons in court.

Reasons for conflict

Since elderly people tend to have health or memory issues, some may argue that this leaves them susceptible to undue influence from others while crafting a will. This kind of influence is not merely someone nagging or giving small suggestions. Rather, those contesting a will must show that the person bribed or threatened your loved one in order to change the testator’s true intentions through force or coercion.

Signs of duress

Isolation, dependency and emotional distress are also taken into account when examining the testator’s state of mind. Restricting visitors or medication are common tactics to influence someone to edit a will. Fraud may occur if a beneficiary misrepresented important facts about other family members to the testator in order to change his or her mind.