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Are you able to challenge the validity of a loved one's will?

Perhaps you have a sneaking suspicion that something isn't right about your loved one's will. You had conversations with your family member prior to his or her death regarding how to distribute the estate, but when you read the will filed with the court, it didn't reflect those wishes.

Now, you wonder whether you should take your concerns to the court. In order to do so, you must have standing. Not just anyone can contest a will.

Are you eligible to challenge the will?

In order to file a will contest, you need to fall into one of the categories below:

  • If your loved one named you in the will filed with the court, you may contest it. However, if he or she put a "no contest" clause in the will, you could lose your inheritance unless the court rules the will invalid.
  • If you served as the executor of a prior will, but do not serve as such in the current will, the court may allow you to file a will contest.
  • If your loved one named you as a beneficiary in a prior will, but not in the current will, then you may be eligible to file a will contest.
  • If you would have inherited if no will existed, but your loved one didn't name you in the current will, you may have standing as well. If you qualify as an heir-at-law, you are probably a spouse, child or grandchild.

Of course, you must have a valid reason to file a will contest. You cannot do so simply because you do not agree with the way that the will distributes the estate. Not many reasons for contesting a will exist. The court will default to believing that the decedent intended to distribute his or her estate as indicated in the will. If you pass the test regarding standing, then you bear the burden of proving to the court that the will isn't valid.

You will want to provide a Nevada court with the best possible evidence to support your position. Your hunch will not be enough. Contesting a will is actually a complex undertaking. If you are sure that you want to do so, and you have standing, you may benefit from discussing the matter with an attorney experienced in this type of probate litigation.

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Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr, P.C.
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Henderson, NV 89074

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