Contesting The Testator: What Happens When You Do Not Agree With Your Parent’s Will

When you discover that your parent has made out a will, and you disagree with how that will is arranged, there are only so many legal approaches you can take to get the will changed in your favor. The probate process is not an easy one, since the majority of most wills are legal and binding. A probate lawyer, like David R Webb Attorney, can help you determine if your parent's will can be fought, and/or if it is worth fighting at all.

Why You Might Want to Fight Your Parent's Will

Problems may arise with your parent's will, especially if Mom or Dad left a large inheritance to a sibling or friend who passed away before your parent passed. Usually, a person will leave instructions on how the inheritance should be passed in the event that the inheritor dies just before the testator (or owner/author of the will). If your parent did not leave specific instructions for this particular event, you will want to fight the will.

Another reason to fight your parent's will is a long-term illness that was not discovered until after the will was written. If your parent's doctor suggests that the neurological disorder your parent was diagnosed with was actually present at the time the will was written, it may be reason enough to contest the will. Your probate lawyer will have to have copies of the doctor's diagnosis and professional opinion, which speaks to the soundness of your parent's mind when he or she authored this legally binding contract.

Additionally, if your parent leaves almost all of his or her earthly possessions to unlikely inheritors (e.g., a house full of cats, inanimate objects, the maid or the butler, etc.) you may want a probate lawyer to take another look at it. There may have been some mental illness or unseemly coercion, which may also make the will null and void. Then the judge has to decide just how much of the inheritance you are entitled to, which may be more or less than what you have already received.

When Your Parent Is Still Alive and Is of Sound Mind

When your parent is still alive and is of sound mind but frail body, a probate lawyer may argue that this is a case you should not attempt. The problem is that your parent can prove that his or her mind is still sound, and then the will holds, even if you do not agree with it. It also creates a lot of unpleasantness in the family, and makes you appear less favorable in the eyes of the court. Any contestation of the testator while he or she lives is often a bad idea unless there is a severe mental and/or emotional deficit that would point to problems with the will.