Should you contest a will for undue influence?

Sep 7, 2021 | Firm News

Following the death of your loved one in New Jersey, you may have questions surrounding the final will and testament left behind. Particularly, if you have evidence that the testator experienced manipulation, you may feel that the true intent of the will does not legitimately exist in formal legal documentation.

Undue influence happens when coercion, fraud and other unethical behaviors interfere with a testator’s end-of-life wishes. By law, you have the right to contest a will in court when you feel your loved one did not have a fair chance at articulating his or her legacy.

Preparing to contest

You cannot successfully contest a will without some evidence that backs your claim. Even prior to your loved one’s death, if you suspected undue influence, you may have made note of your observations or talked to other people about your concerns. Witness testimony and any supporting documents you may have gathered in the past may improve the credibility of your claim. According to U.S. News, many states require witness signatures on a will to substantiate any legal claims after the testator’s death.

Once underway, contesting a will requires immediate action and timely decision-making. Because of its urgency, you may need to have extra flexibility in terms of your availability. Waiting too long to bring your concerns to the right place could jeopardize your chance to contest a will if the statute of limitations is already passed.

Finding support

Contesting a will can create strong emotions. Especially if you have other family members who disagree with your actions. Keep in mind that differences of opinion, miscommunication and general lack of information could cause divides among family members. Sticking to the facts of the case and refraining from irrational judgment can help you maintain your integrity and poise throughout the process.

Hiring an attorney to guide you through a will contest may reduce the stress and uncertainty you feel. With the right legal team, you may have a winning shot at a satisfactory outcome so you can have peace of mind that everything happened the way your loved one would have wanted.