When someone in your family passes away, that alone can be a sad time that is filled with a large amount of emotional turbulence. The grieving process is very difficult, but to find that you've been left out of the will may be extremely devastating. You may want to consider hiring a probate attorney to contest the will, but there are many things you should take into consideration before deciding to pursue that option.
Reasons Why a Will is Contested
People will contest a will if they deem it to be invalid. Was the person who wrote the will somehow not in their right state of mind? Or were they coerced into putting something in the will they would have never otherwise done? Perhaps the will was not properly signed and witnessed. These are some of the more common reasons why a will is contested in Surrogate's Court.
Tips to Consider when Contesting
If you are the child, spouse or dependent of the deceased and were not provided for adequately within the will, you may want to consider contesting it. It's a big challenge to take on, so you'll want to be sure you fully understand the challenge you face.
To start, there are certain time frames on contesting a will, so check with your state for the specific rules regarding your time limitation. Also, remember to consider why you may have been left out of the will. For example, if you are the child of the deceased, consider if there are other children that may have been in a position to need more from your parent. If you are financially stable but your older brother is not, perhaps that's why your parent decided to leave your brother the majority of their estate.
Consider communicating with the other members of your family. Sometimes bringing lawyers into the mix can result in an agreement.
If you are contesting the validity of the will, you'll want to make sure you have enough evidence to prove that your deceased family member really was not in their right state of mind when they wrote the will. If there are any medical records that back up your claim, you may need to subpoena the deceased's medical records to prove your claim. You may also have personal witnesses that can attest to your challenge.
If you do decide that contesting the will is something that is absolutely necessary, retain an experienced probate attorney, like Cappello George M Lawyer.
If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.