Over a lifetime, no matter the lifestyle, people collect belongings that they love and adore. These are valuable items that should be passed down to loved ones in order to make sure they will still be taken care of. By developing an extensive estate plan, an individual is able to plan for what happens to their assets when their life is over. This can protect any cherished possessions and belongings.
When creating an estate, individuals often wish to write a will. A will is a document that acknowledges an individual’s wishes how they want their estate to be taken care of after they pass away. This ensures that their assets do not fall into the wrong hands. However, there are circumstances in which an illegitimate will is created. This may happen if the creation of the document did not follow the correct legal process.
Executing a Will
In the state of Massachusetts, there are certain guidelines in place to make sure a will is created properly. Following these guidelines is what makes the document legal. The individual who writes the will, also known as the “testator,” must be of sound mind and body in order to write their will. They are required to declare this out loud to two witnesses that also must be present for the signing. Both witnesses must approve they saw the will be signed in addition to signing the document themselves.
Contesting a Will
When an individual dies and they have a will, the document must go through probate court. This is a process that determines whether or not a will is valid. A will can be contested for legal reasons and the belief that its creation did not follow the proper guidelines in place. It is important to know that, under probate law, a will can only be contested by those who are mention in the will or a previous will that was written.
A person may wish to contest a will for the following reasons:
- If it was created under the influence of another party
- If the deceased was not mentally competent when writing the will
- If the will was not executed properly
- If fraud or forgery took place
In the event that the court agrees that the will is invalid, the document can be thrown out. If an earlier will exists, it is possible for that document to be put into place. If there is no other will, the deceased’s assets can be distributed by the state of Massachusetts by following a succession plan.
Contact our Firm
If you or someone you know is looking to contest a will, contact the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. today.
If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.