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Illinois probate: Can I contest a loved one's will?

The point of having a will is to ensure various assets get passed on to the desired individuals or organizations and to ensure one's dying wishes are known. One would think that a will is solid and standing, but the truth is, there are various reasons to question these documents when estates go to an Illinois probate court for administration. What are the reasons that one might wish to contest a will?

When it comes to challenging a will, there must be legal grounds to do so. It cannot be something one does on a whim or because he or she is not happy with what he or she did or did not get. There are several valid claims one could make to legally contest a will, some of them being:

  • Will lacked appropriate signatures/witnesses
  • The testator had questionable mental capacity
  • Will was created in a fraudulent manner
  • Concerns of undue influence exist

In other words, a will, to be valid, has to be created by someone who knows and understands the consequences of the document. It has to be created without the testator being pressured to designate particular beneficiaries or assign assets to specific individuals. The testator has to know that the document exists and what it includes -- among other things.

Those who believe that they have the appropriate legal reasons to contest a loved one's will have to file their claims in a specific time frame. They also have to be ready to explain their reasoning in court and provide evidence that backs up their claims. Challenging a will is not an easy task, and it is not something that one has to do alone. This is something with which an experienced Illinois-based probate attorney can assist.

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