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How should you react if you’re left off of a will?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2022 | Estate Disputes, Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration

Assets retained inside of a decedent’s estate may be subject to Oklahoma probate laws. The probate process either verifies the decedent’s will or decides how property should be distributed if that person died intestate. If a valid will is presented to a probate judge, you may have grounds to protest that document if your name is not on it.

Do you have standing to contest a will?

The mere fact that your name has been omitted from a will is not enough to challenge it. Instead, you must be able to prove that this happened because of undue influence or because the testator was not of sound mind when the document was written or altered. It may also be possible to claim that your challenge should be heard because you would be entitled to an inheritance if the will is invalidated.

Should you do anything?

While you may have the legal right to challenge a will, it may not be in your best interest to do so. This is because a challenge may do little more than prevent your family from mourning and processing the death of a loved one. Although you may win a few dollars or a few heirlooms if your legal efforts are successful, it may come at the cost of straining important relationships. This is partially because the cost of a contested estate proceeding is paid by the estate itself, which may reduce the size of everyone’s inheritance.

A will contest may enable you to obtain land, cash or other property that you feel is rightfully yours. It may be possible to use older copies of a loved one’s will, witness testimony or other evidence to back your claim to a portion of that individual’s estate.