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Different reasons that people challenge wills in probate

Posted on January 4, 2019

When people pass away in Missouri, they cannot take anything with them. Their property and assets will remain here and will need to be distributed. Therefore, there are laws in place that dictate where the property will go. The laws state that the property will go to various family members depending on their relationship to the deceased. However, people do not always have a good relationship with their family members or they believe certain family members need the property more than another.

That is why having a will is important. Wills are the deceased’s statements and desires about where their property will go. The wills still need to go through probate, but generally courts will follow properly executed wills and direct that the property be distributed according to the will. The family members of the deceased may not be happy about the fact that they did not get what they thought they deserved or what they were going to get though. In certain situations these family members may be able to challenge the will.

People cannot simply challenge the will because they do not like it though. There must be a basis to challenge the will. One basis is that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to execute the will. This means they did not know the value of their property, understand who will be receiving the property or understand the consequences of the will. Usually this arises if a person has dementia or other illnesses like that. Other reasons to challenge is because the will was made under undue influence by another person, a subsequent will was executed after a first one, there were not proper witnesses to the will and others.

There are many people who pass away with wills. These are important documents that allow the deceased to direct where their property will go. However, there are challenges that can be made to wills if family members do not think that it is a valid will. There are different reasons that a will may not be valid and if the family member is successful, the property would be distributed according to intestate law and not the will. Experienced attorneys understand these types of proceedings and could guide one through the process.