The reading of a will is a pivotal moment in settling the deceased’s affairs after a loved one has passed away. However, in some cases, what was meant to be a straightforward distribution of assets and wishes takes an unexpected turn with the presence of contested will. The legal challenges surrounding wills can be intricate, emotional, and laden with complexity, casting a shadow over the grieving process.
What is a contested will?
A contested will refers to a situation in which one or more individuals challenge the validity or terms of a deceased person’s will. When someone passes away and leaves a will, that document is meant to outline their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets, the appointment of an executor, and other matters related to their estate.
A will can be contested for various reasons, including:
- Lack of Capacity: If the testator (the person who made the will) was not of sound mind or did not have the mental capacity to understand the implications of the will when it was created, the will may be challenged.
- Undue Influence: If there is evidence that someone exerted undue influence over the testator, causing them to make decisions against their own wishes, the will may be contested.
- Fraud or Forgery: If there is suspicion or evidence that the will is fraudulent, forged, or not executed properly, it may be challenged.
- Mistake: A will can be contested if there are errors, mistakes, or ambiguities that make it unclear or open to interpretation.
- Revocation: If there is evidence that the testator intended to revoke the will but it was not done properly, this could lead to a contested will.
Contesting a will is a legal process that typically involves filing a legal challenge in court. The resolution of contested will cases depends on the specific laws of the jurisdiction, the evidence presented, and the arguments made by the parties involved. It’s often a complex and sensitive legal matter, and individuals contesting a will or defending against a challenge usually seek the assistance of legal professionals specializing in probate and estate law.
Who arranges the funeral when a will is being contested?
The right to arrange a funeral when there is a contested will can vary depending on the legal jurisdiction and the specific circumstances surrounding the challenge. In many cases, the person with the legal authority to make decisions about the funeral is typically the executor named in the deceased person’s will.
If the will is being contested, the resolution of the dispute will depend on the outcome of the legal proceedings. During the period of dispute, the executor may still have the authority to make decisions about the funeral. However, if the court appoints a different executor or takes other actions that affect the distribution of the deceased person’s estate, the authority over funeral arrangements may shift accordingly.
It’s important to consult with a legal professional in the specific jurisdiction where the deceased person lived, as laws can vary, and the resolution of these matters is subject to the legal processes of that jurisdiction. If there is uncertainty or dispute over funeral arrangements, seeking legal advice promptly is advisable to ensure compliance with relevant laws and to address any concerns or conflicts.
If you are in a situation where you believe a will is invalid and you are the rightful beneficiary, you must act quick. The best option would be to contact a legal professional like Blanchards. Companies like ourselves are well versed with wills and probate, offering advice and resolution.