If you agree to serve as an estate executor or administrator for a friend or family member, you must pay estate expenses and distribute property upon his or her death. Usually, this process goes smoothly, but you may experience challenges if a third party decides to contest the person’s will.
Review these three common reasons to legally contest a will to prepare for this potential situation.
Lack of validity
The person who contests the will may argue that it does not meet Georgia’s legal requirements. The will must be:
- In writing
- Signed by the person who wrote the will as well as by two witnesses to his or her signature
- Created by a person who is of sound mind and at least 14 years old
If the will fails to meet any of these requirements, the court may find it invalid.
Individuals commonly contest a will because they believe the deceased person was not of sound mind. In this case, they may attempt to prove that the deceased person could not understand what he or she was signing because of dementia, severe mental illness or severe substance use. Simply claiming that the person was old and confused does not usually support an incapacity claim.
Fraud or undue influence
Another common situation involves a family member contesting a will because of fraud. He or she may believe that the person signed the will because of undue influence, misleading information, threats, coercion or duress.
Anyone can contest a will in Georgia, whether or not they have any relation to the deceased. However, they must do so within 10 to 13 days of the start of probate depending on the county.