Though your loved one may have created a will before his or her death, that document does not necessarily mean that the estate administration will be free from complications. In some cases, an individual could choose to contest a will, which could lead the estate into litigation. In these cases, the disputing party or parties must provide a valid legal reason, and, if you believe that a high chance for such a dispute exists, you may wish to determine how you could prepare for such an event.
First, if you have concerns that someone will contest your loved one's will, you might want to determine whether the person can file a will dispute.
The term "standing" means that an individual can provide a valid connection to the legal issue and present evidence as to how he or she suffers from the issue. In many cases, the contesting individual must first argue his or her standing before any further legal action can move forward.
Beneficiaries and heirs
Beneficiaries and heirs represent the two most common groups of parties who likely have standing when it comes to contesting a will. The beneficiary group could break down into two subgroups: beneficiaries of a prior will and beneficiaries of a subsequent will. If an individual was a beneficiary in a previous version of a will, he or she could contest a newer will if he or she no longer inherits anything from the estate or less than what the previous terms had indicated.
Beneficiaries of an updated will could also claim similar issues. They could potentially believe that they should have received more assets, a specific asset or a greater part of the estate than the document indicates at the present time.
Because heirs are individuals who may have inherited parts of an estate had the deceased not created a will, they may also have legal standing. Though these individuals commonly are named as beneficiaries in a will, they could argue that without the will, they would have obtained a greater portion of the estate. They could also claim that they were unjustly left out of the current will if they do not gain anything.
Valid dispute arguments
In addition to those arguments already mentioned, individuals may have a valid reason to contest a will if they believe that the document was forged, created under undue influence or another will supersedes the one referenced during estate administration proceedings.
In some cases, you may not need to fear the contesting of a loved one's will because a valid reason for a dispute does not exist. However, you may find yourself in a legal predicament if an individual is able to provide standing for a will dispute.
If you hope to smoothly work through your loved one's estate administration, you may want to consult with an experienced West Virginia attorney. This type of legal professional could help you recognize the potential for conflict and determine your options for handling any proposed litigation.