Grounds for Contesting a Will 

January 05, 2021  

In most cases, an Ohio estate passes through the probate process without issue. However, there are times when an heir, beneficiary, or a party who believes that they are entitled to a portion of an estate file a lawsuit to contest a final will and testament. There are many reasons why a will may be contested, and the experienced probate litigation attorneys at Kryszak Law Firm have represented many clients throughout Ohio who have been involved in a will contest case. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation. 

Procedural Issues

One common reason for contesting a will is on procedural grounds. This means that there was a substantial mistake in the creation of the document that makes it void under Ohio law. Examples of procedural issues include not signing the will, failure to have witnesses, or not putting a final will and testament in writing. 

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

Claiming a lack of testamentary capacity is one of the most common grounds for contesting a will. In order to have testamentary capacity, the testator must understand the nature of their estate, who they are giving their assets to, and that they are giving their assets away in a will for when they pass. This issue arises most often when the deceased suffered from cognitive issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease at the time that their will was created or amended.

Undue Influence

Undue influence is another ground for contesting a will in Ohio, which involves a third party exerting so much pressure on the testator that they supplant the testator’s wishes with their own in the will. Proving undue influence involves more than showing that a person suggested changes or nagged the testator to change their will. The influence must be so great that it overcame the willpower of the testator when creating or changing the contents of the document.

Fraud or Forgery

Fraud and forgery are two different grounds for contesting a will, but both use trickery in order to get the intended outcomes. Fraud claims involve proving that the will was signed without the testator knowing, like presenting a stack of documents for them to sign with the will hidden within it. Forgery involves faking some or all of a will that was never included in the original document. This could involve removing pages, inserting pages, creating an entirely new document, and more.

Duress

One final ground for contesting an Ohio will is that duress was used to force the testator to sign a will that did not reflect their true wishes for their estate. This can be accomplished with threats against the testator or their loved ones and does not have to involve actual physical force. To learn more about the grounds for contesting a will, talk to a lawyer today.

Call or Contact Our Office Now

No matter what side you are on in a will contest, the knowledgeable probate attorneys at Kryszak Law Firm are here to provide zealous legal representation in your case. To learn more about your legal options, call the office or contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your claims.