Clients often wonder if they have any rights to contest the Last Will and Testament of a loved one. Those disinherited often wish to challenge a Will that they believe to be invalid.
In Massachusetts, there are many reasons that a Will can be deemed invalid:
a. The Will could be the product of fraud or undue influence;
b. The Testator could lack the mental capacity to execute a Will;
c. The Will could be a product of forgery; or,
d. The Will could lack the essential elements needed for proper execution.
Who can challenge a Will? In Massachusetts, any party with standing can challenge a Will. Parties with standing, that are entitled to initiate a Will Contest, generally fall under one of two categories:
a. Someone who would have inherited if no Will existed – that is, if the decedent died intestate. These parties can include a disinherited child, spouse or sibling, or,
b. Someone who would have inherited under a prior Will.
When a person is dissatisfied with the terms of a Will, they have the option to challenge the Will in the Probate Court of the county where the Will is being probated. Timing is essential. Failure to act within the objection period set by the Probate Court will likely serve as a waiver of your objection.
If you believe that you were wrongly disinherited from your loved one’s Last Will and Testament, contact Attorney Chapdelaine immediately. An Affidavit of Objections must be timely filed to preserve your right to your loved one’s estate.