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Home » Estate Litigation » When can you contest a will?

When someone names you as a beneficiary in his or her will, you may have to wait for the estate to go through probate court before you get anything out of it. If you have suspicions about anything that appears in the will or believe its author may have drafted it under false pretenses, you may be able to challenge it in probate court.

Contesting the will means that you formally challenge some or all of the terms and contents within it. Most will contests result from similar assertions. You may find it necessary to challenge a will if one or more of the following circumstances exist.

You believe the will does not follow state laws

If the will does not meet New Jersey’s state standards for wills, you may be able to contest it under these grounds. If the author never signed the will, for example, or if no one witnessed its signing, these circumstances may call its validity into question.

You believe someone coerced the testator

The contents of a will must be the ideas and thoughts of the testator. If someone coerced the testator or subjected him or her to undue influence, you may have cause to contest the will.

You believe the testator was not of sound mind

To sign a will and make it valid, the testator must be of legal age and sound mind. If you have reason to believe the testator lacked the mental capacity to sign the will, you may have valid grounds to contest its contents.