After the loss of a loved one, your family may have to face the responsibility of settling his or her estate. This can be a complex process, especially during a time of grief, and it can be devastating to learn that the instructions left behind by the decedent do not match your expectations. If there are serious problems with the will left by your deceased loved one, you may wonder what options are available to your family.
Each person has the right to create a will as he or she sees fit. While each individual may create a plan uniquely suited to his or her needs and objectives, there are times when outside influences and other issues could impact these important decisions. When this happens, it may be within the rights of certain interested parties to contest the will.
The right to contest a will
You cannot contest a will simply because you don’t like the terms outlined in the document. However, if there are indications of a problem, you may have grounds to move forward with the legal process of challenging the current will. Common reasons to do this include signs of undue influence, evidence of coercion, suspicion of a forged will and more. Those who contest a will are generally those who have an interest in the estate. You may have to navigate the following steps if you contest a will:
- You will need to file a petition with the probate court, which will be the one located in the county where your loved one died.
- You will then need to prepare for a hearing. You will want to gather evidence that supports your claim that there was a problem with the will.
- It can take years to resolve a will contest, and this is why many choose to simply accept a settlement instead of going through a protracted legal battle.
Before you move forward with a will contest, you may first benefit from understanding if this is a reasonable course of action for you. You will want to carefully consider all of your options before moving forward, and you may be able to make this decision after seeking a thorough assessment of your concerns. Disputes over a will can be difficult for a Minnesota family, but you do not have to walk through this process alone.