When you expect to receive an inheritance, this can become a part of your long-term financial plans. Then, if for whatever reason, you are left out of a will, you might feel shocked and hopeless. However, there are actions you may take to increase the chances that you'll receive an inheritance.
Determine if You Have a Case
The first step is to assess the likelihood that you will be able to win a court case involving a contested will. If you were not in a previous will and if you are not a family member, you are very unlikely to win your case even if you believe that you are entitled to an inheritance.
A common reason for being left out of a will unfairly is when a loved one was confused, tricked or placed under duress. For this reason, you will need a copy of the will as soon as possible to make sure that there have been no suspicious alterations. If you were not told before the will entered probate court, you will receive a copy from the court. Then, you will be informed of how much time you have to contest the will.
Retain an Attorney
If it does seem likely that you may win the case, make sure to retain an attorney. Show your lawyer the will and explain why you want to file a legal challenge. If you are able to prove that the testator did not have the mental capacity to understand what was in the will at the time that it was being signed, or that the will failed to meet legal regulations and is therefore not valid.
Have Your Attorney File a Contest Against the Will
After it has been determined that you have the grounds to contest, your attorney will file a contest against the will. The contest is designed to make the current, legal will no longer valid. The more revisions of the will that have occurred, the more difficulties you will have because you will be essentially contesting multiple wills.
In some cases, you may be better off resolving the case through mediation. You will reach a resolution much faster than you would in a long court battle. Mediation is less expensive than going to court and you typically have more control over the process. With the help of an attorney, like those from Christena Silvey Coleman CSC Law, LLC, you can determine the option that is best for you.
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