After the loved ones of Palm Beach residents pass away, the task of wrapping up the estates of the deceased begins. If wills exist, these documents are then filed with the court and probate proceedings begin in most cases. Once a particular will is examined, someone may believe something just is not right, and a contest to the will could be considered.
However, only certain people can file a will contest. In order to have “standing,” or the legal right to challenge a will, an individual must fall into one of three categories. For instance, a person who would have inherited under the state’s intestate laws could challenge a will. Others include those who inherited under a previous will and those who inherit under the current will. Most often, these individuals include spouses, children or any other “interested person” who may assert a right to property included in the estate.
Disgruntled heirs or beneficiaries must also have a valid reason for contesting a will. It is not enough for someone to assert that he or she is not happy with the terms of the will. A legal reason must exist for objecting to the will.
Many Palm Beach residents hesitate to file will contests based on clauses in wills indicating that an inheritance could be forfeited if the challenge fails. In many cases, such clauses do not stand up to legal challenges, especially if a valid legal reason exists to contest the validity of a will. In order to clarify whether an individual has standing and a legal reason to file a challenge to a will, it may be worthwhile to consult with an attorney.