You may want to carefully consider whether to challenge a loved one's last will and testament after they pass away. If you believe that you have discovered information that could make the will invalid, then you may consider it your duty to come forward. However, you cannot file a challenge to a will simply because you are not happy with what you received, or didn't receive, from your loved one.
In addition to needing a valid legal reason for the challenge, you must also have standing. This means that you have the legal right to contest the will. You may not realize that not everyone has this right.
Can you contest the will?
The following categories of people can legally challenge the validity of a will:
- Anyone named as a beneficiary in the current will
- Anyone named as a beneficiary in a prior will
- Anyone identified as a fiduciary such as an executor or guardian in the current will
- Anyone identified as a fiduciary in a prior will
- Anyone recognized by the law as an heir even if not named in the will
If you belong to one of these categories of people, then you may have legal standing to challenge the will.
Should you contest the will?
Many Nevada residents add clauses to their wills stating that anyone who challenges the will forfeits his or her inheritance outlined therein. The court may uphold these "no contest" clauses, but if you challenge the will and win, it may not apply. If you believe the will is invalid because it did not include you, then you already have nothing to lose if the court does not rule in your favor.
Therefore, if you believe you have a legal challenge to the will and have legal standing to file a will contest, then it may be worth the risk. In order to know for sure, it may be worthwhile to sit down with an estate administration attorney with experience in challenging estate-planning documents. During a consultation, you may gain an understanding of your rights and legal options.
You may also want to weigh out whether it would be advantageous for you to undertake such a complex, time-consuming and potentially expensive endeavor. While you may have started out approaching the matter from an emotional standpoint, it may be better to obtain a more objective viewpoint, since pursuing the issue may not be worth your while, depending on the circumstances.