Estate Litigation & Probate Litigation
Estate litigation, often referred to as probate litigation, typically involves a dispute regarding the validity of a decedent’s last will and testament or an amendment to the will (a codicil). Once a will is offered for admission to probate, there is a short period of time thereafter during which an interested party can contest the validity of the will and seek to deny its admission to probate.
The most common grounds upon which a will is contested are undue influence and lack of capacity. When a will, or any instrument is the product of undue influence, which means that someone other than the testator (meaning the person who created the will and now is deceased) imposed his will on the testator and substituted his desires for those of the testator. The person exerting undue influence usually does so in order to benefit himself or a member of his family. A will must reflect the desires of the testator, not someone else. If a will is the product of someone else’s undue influence, the will should be denied admission to probate.
There are other grounds upon which a will can be contested, including, but not limited to, fraud, menace, duress, mistake, insane delusion and lack of proper execution.