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When should you dispute your loved ones’ will?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Firm News

Disputing a loved one’s will is a significant legal action. It can have emotional and financial implications. If you want to contest a will successfully in Massachusetts, you should be aware of certain conditions. 

Understanding when and why to dispute a will can ensure the executor distributes the estate according to the decedent’s true intentions. 

Lack of testamentary capacity

One of the primary reasons to dispute a will is if the decedent lacked the testamentary capacity when the will was executed. It means that the decedent did not understand the nature of their assets, the extent of their estate, or the implications of signing the will. 

Undue influence

Undue influence occurs when someone exerts excessive pressure on the decedent to alter their will. It can often benefit the influencer. If there is evidence that the will reflects the desires of the influencer rather than the decedent, it may be grounds for a dispute.

Fraud or forgery

One can contest a will if there is evidence of fraud or forgery. Fraud can manipulate the decedent to create or alter a will under pretenses. Forgery, on the other hand, involves the creation of a false will or the unauthorized alteration of a genuine will. 

Improper execution

In Massachusetts, a will must be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by at least two individuals. If one does not perform these formalities, the will can be contested on the grounds of improper execution.

You should only consider disputing a will in Massachusetts under specific circumstances. Beneficiaries who believe a will does not reflect the decedent’s true intentions should seek legal advice and act within the designated time frame. 

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