SPEAK WITH A TEAM MEMBER (770) 920-6030

Download the Georgia Probate Handbook.

Learn Important Probate Essentials, including key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.

 

    How to Contest a Will: 7 Legal Objections

    By
    logos-image logos-image logos-image

    In today’s article, we’re going to discuss how to contest a will. 

    We’ll also cover some of the key legal reasons to contest a will and how the caveat process works.

    So how do will contests work? 

    First, let’s cover terminology, when you file a legal objection to a will, we call that a “caveat”. 

    This caveat must identify all of the legal objections to the validity of the will. 

    In a caveat you are asking the court overturn the will in its entirety – there is typically not much middle ground to modify the will.

    The caveat must tell the court the legal reasons why the will should be declared invalid. 

    Common Legal Objections To A Will


    What are some common legal objections to a will?

    1. Absence of formalities necessary when the will was signed.
    2. The person who signed the will lacked testamentary capacity.
    3. There was fraud in signing the will.
    4. Undue influence was exerted over the person who made the will.
    5. There was a mistake when the will was filed.
    6. There was a forgery of signatures on the will.
    7. The will was later revoked. 

    There are other legal grounds for caveat, of course, but hopefully these seven give you an idea of some of the most common ones. 

    Each of these grounds for objection have several factors that must be proven in order to win on that objection.

    As you can imagine, it get complicated very quickly.

    How Do Will Contest Cases Work?

    How do will contest cases work?

    Filing the caveat kicks off a legal dispute in probate court, and that dispute has several stages.

    Related Topic:  What to do when the executor or administrator goes silent?

    First, When drafting the caveat, it is important make sure you identify all of the legal grounds that apply.  If you leave one out, you risk losing it unless the caveat is later amended.

    When the caveat is filed, it is ok to simply state objections even if you do not yet have the evidence to support them. 

    After the caveat is filed, the case will enter the discovery phase where each side has the opportunity to gather evidence to prove their case.

    During discovery and after it ends, it is common for motions to be filed by either side asking the court to take an action, such as excluding evidence or granting summary judgment. 

    It is also very common for mediation to be required during that time. 

    After discovery ends, the case will be scheduled for a trial where each party will present their case and evidence, and the court will determine whether the will is valid or invalid. 

    As a result, it is vitally important that evidence is gathered to support the allegations made in the caveat.  Without evidence, it is very unlikely that the will contest will be unsuccessful. 

    This is a complex situation, and I do not recommend that you try to handle a will contest without a qualified probate attorney on your side.

    Considering Contesting A Will?

    Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice – for specific information about your situation, please contact our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.

    MORE FROM OUR BLOG

    After a loved one passes away, it is not uncommon to want to begin handling their affairs right away. Often, one of the first things the family will want to access the deceased’s bank accounts. Unfortunately, they quickly learn that the bank will not speak with them or give them any information, l...

    What happens if it is discovered that the deceased had dementia when the Will was created? Does that mean that the Will is automatically invalid or that the Probate Court will not accept it?  We will discuss these questions in this post. My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of ...

    When can the Estate cover attorney's fees?  This is a common question with a somewhat complicated answer.  We’ll cover the basics in this post. My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group. At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate ...

    © 2021 Georgia Probate Law Group by Broel Law, LLC. All rights reserved.