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CHALLENGING A WILL IN PROBATE COURT

What do you do if you have been wrongfully excluded from inheriting what should have been given to you when someone dies? Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to bring a lawsuit called a will contest. If a will doesn’t fulfill certain legal requirements, you can challenge the will in probate court.Will contests do not happen in every probate matter. However, at Phillips Law Firm, Inc., we have successfully handled will contests for persons wrongfully excluded from a will, and we have successfully defended will contests from those persons who were excluded for good cause.

There are a range of issues that may serve as grounds to support a will contest. Examples include:

Age – A person must be a legal adult by age to create a will. The will must have been created when the person was 18 years old—even in situations where a minor was emancipated prior to age 18.

Mental state – A person must be “of sound mind” — mentally capable of making a will at the time the will was signed.

Fraud or undue influence – When evidence of fraud or the undue influence of another person is present, the probate court may invalidate a will.

Formalities in the contents of the will – If a will does not contain certain legally required information, it can be declared invalid. Beware of the “online” forms that do not take into account the legal requirements of Ohio law.

Witnesses – A person creating a will must sign and date the will before witnesses. Ohio law requires two witnesses to be present when the written will is signed – even if the will is hand-written. The witness cannot be beneficiaries named in the will or relatives of the testator. Competent witness must also be at least 18 years old.

If you have reason to believe that you were wrongfully excluded from a loved one’s will, or if somebody is challenging a will that would affect your rights, we can help you.

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