Deciding to contest a will can be one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s not about simply wondering if your departed loved one didn’t leave you the right amount of money. You’re stating that you believe that what you received is unfair and that the deceased didn’t just slight you, but that he or she actually broke the law. The legal chain of events this sets off may create a rift between you and some or all of your family members and it may take years for that rift to fully heal, if it ever does. So before you contest a will, you need to decide if it’s worth it.
Is the Situation Truly Unfair?
The biggest factor in determining if a will needs to be changed by the court or not is if it was grossly unfair towards you. There are times when a will truly is unfair to a person, leaving him or her without the means needed to support himself or herself. However, there are also times when a family member’s feelings are hurt because something he or she wanted was left to someone else.
It may be possible that another family member did receive more money in a will, but you may have received a fair amount. Before letting your emotions get the best of you, truly examine what you received. You may need to bring in an outside perspective, such as a lawyer, to read the will and give you his or her opinion.
Were You Dependent on the Family Member?
One reason many people contest wills is because they were fully or partially dependent upon the family member and now have no income. Contesting a will does require that you have a relationship of some sort to the deceased, often one that was financial. There are a few other options to use as a basis for your action but, in most cases, if you can’t show that you have a financial need that is no longer being met, you will find it hard to contest someone’s will.
The other two options to contest a will involve the mental capacity of the deceased and the executor. If you believe that the person was no longer mentally capable of understanding what his or her will stated or if you believe that the executor of the will was influenced by others, you may also contest the document.
Are You Ready to Cut Ties Over it?
Going to court and stating that you believe that your deceased loved one slighted you is going to cause hurt feelings. It may strain or even completely sever relationships with some family members. Some may say that you’re only after your loved one’s money while those who received something from the will may see it as a personal attack. It’s very likely that at least one person will get upset at your decision to contest your loved one’s will.
Be prepared for this to happen, but don’t let it stop you from taking action if you truly believe you’ve been slighted or have not received the resources needed to survive.