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When Can a Will Be Contested in Ohio Probate Court?

Posted on in Estate Planning

wooster estate planning lawyerWhen a person dies, the executor or administrator of their estate will file their last will and testament in probate court. During this process, the executor or administrator will oversee the deceased person’s final affairs, including performing an inventory of their property and assets, making payments to creditors, and distributing their assets to the beneficiaries named in their will. In some cases, disputes may arise among the deceased person’s beneficiaries regarding the distribution of assets. However, a will can only be contested in certain cases, and the parties in these types of disputes will need to work with an attorney to address the validity of their loved one’s will.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

Disagreements between a person’s heirs may arise when a person believes that they should receive certain assets or because they do not believe that the will accurately reflected the testator’s wishes (the person who created the will). If a person wishes to contest a will, they must do so within three months after being notified that the will has been filed in probate court. A will may be contested based on:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity - When signing their will, a person should have a full understanding of the extent of the assets they own and the decisions being made about the distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. If the testator was not of sound mind or did not fully understand the terms of their will, the will may be invalidated. For example, if a person had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia before they signed their will, they may not have had the testamentary capacity to understand the decisions being made.

  • Undue influence - A person’s heirs may believe that a family member or caretaker manipulated or coerced their loved one into agreeing to sign a will that was different from what they actually wanted. If a person isolated the testator from other family members, drew up a will that made themselves the sole or primary beneficiary, and pressured the testator into signing it, other family members or potential beneficiaries may seek to have the will invalidated.

  • Fraud or forgery - A will can be contested on the basis that it was signed or executed fraudulently. For example, a person may have been tricked into signing a will after being told that they were signing other types of legal documents. A will may also be invalid if it was altered after the testator signed it or if another person forged the testator’s signature.

Contact a Wooster Probate Litigation Attorney

If you are concerned about the validity of your loved one’s last will and testament, or if you need to respond to claims that a will is invalid, The Law Offices of Andrew M. Parker, LLC can provide you with legal help and representation. We will advise you on how the law applies in your situation, and we will work to address these issues and ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out correctly. Contact our Wadsworth probate lawyer at 330-725-4114. We provide free consultations in most types of cases involving estate planning and probate matters.

Sources:

https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/section-5817.10

https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/section-2107.76

https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-the-grounds-for-contesting-a-will-3505208

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