When someone dies, the first important legal question to ask is whether the person had a valid Last Will and Testament, or as it is often called, a “Will.” If he or she did, that will will be received and acted on by the probate court to decide who is entitled to operate the estate and who is to receive the assets when all is said and done in the estate.
There are a lot of requirements too lengthy to go into here as to whether a will is or is not valid. The will may or may not have been validly executed or witnessed when it was signed, or it may have been revoked or superseded by another valid will. What a will means exactly can be a matter of interpretation based on what the decedent may have intended and what certain complicated legal terms that may be in the will mean.
Will contests may challenge whether the decedent was unduly influenced to either make a will or to make certain provisions for property in the will. A will contest may argue different meanings of the will signer’s true intent. Or a will contest may seek to prove that some person like a spouse, a child or grandchild not named in the will may have rights to the estate notwithstanding what the will may say is to happen to particular property.
Whatever the circumstances, careful legal attention is best when you are or think you are entitled to property under a will or think that someone close to you omitted you from his or her estate. Contact us to discuss any of these matters.