Will Contests Attorney
While many estates make it through probate without any issues, that is not always the case. Occasionally, interested parties contest wills, calling the document’s validity into question. This can happen for a myriad of reasons, ranging from disinheritance to undue influence when creating the document. In each instance, the interested party needs to provide evidence that the will is not valid. At the same time, the executor must defend the validity of the will in court as part of his or her duties.
It can be quite confusing and challenging if you have never been involved in a will contest before, but you can seek legal representation. The will contests attorneys at our firm represent executors and interested parties during legal proceedings. Contact us today to learn more about what to expect during the process and how we can help.
Reasons to Contest a Will
You can contest a will if you have reason to believe it is not valid. Some examples include:
Who Can Contest a Will?
You must have legal standing as an interested party to challenge a will in Virginia. For example, you might have legal standing if you were listed in the current will or an earlier draft. You may also have standing to challenge the will if you would have received a share based on the laws of intestacy but were left out of the document. For instance, Virginia makes it close to impossible to disinherit a spouse. If your husband or wife passed away without leaving you anything, you could file a claim to receive as much as half of the estate.
Learn more about your legal rights by contacting a will contests attorney from PJI Law. We can explain the guidelines in greater detail and help you determine if you have a claim.
Avoiding Will Contests
You do not want your family to run into issues when probating your will, so you need to take steps to avoid disputes. First, it is vital to draft a properly executed will. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced estate planning attorney to help you craft it to ensure it follows the state’s rules and guidelines.
Also, you can ask your attorney to test you for competency when drafting your will and even make a video recording of you signing the document.
It is also important to avoid challenges based on undue influence. Thus, do not allow beneficiaries to assist when drafting your will. Instead, work directly with your attorney.
You can find out more about avoiding legal contests by contacting our firm. A will contests attorney will discuss strategies to help the probate go smoothly when the time comes.
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What Happens When Parents Accidentally Disinherit Their Kids?
Sometimes, parents forget to update their estate plans after having children. Thus, the parents did not mean to disinherit the children but simply forgot to include them. If you were born after a deceased parent wrote his or her will and were inadvertently left out, you may have grounds to file a contest. If successful, you can receive a share of the estate. First, reach out to a Northern Virginia will contests attorney from PJI Law. After reviewing your situation, we can let you know if you have a valid claim to receive an inheritance.
Statute of Limitations
If you want to contest a will, you must do so before the statute of limitations expires. In most instances, you have one year from the date the executor files the will in court. However, the statute of limitations may be extended in some cases. For example, you may have more time to dispute a will if you live out of state. Additionally, if you were a minor at the time the will was probated, the clock does not start ticking until you turn 18. Then, you have a year to file a legal challenge. Also, if you were incapacitated during probate, the statute of limitations will not begin until you regain capacity. Then, you must file a dispute within a year. With so many stipulations, it is helpful to consult with a will contests attorney for assistance.
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