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Who can challenge a will?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2022 | Estate Planning

If items remain in your estate after your pass away, they may be subject to Oklahoma probate laws. In the event that you have a will, the primary purpose of a probate proceeding is to ensure that the document is valid. There is a chance that it’s validity will be challenged by one or more parties who have standing to do so.

Determining who has standing

Generally speaking, anyone who is directly related to the decedent has standing to challenge a will. This means that an adult son or daughter, parent or spouse would likely be able to pursue a legal challenge even if that individual was not named in the document itself. Those who would likely be entitled to a portion of an estate may also be given the chance to pursue a will contest even if they are not directly related to the decedent.

What to consider before challenging

Those who have standing to challenge a will may want to think deeply before doing so. This is because taking legal action may cause conflict among family members and may also delay the probate process. It’s also important to remember that the cost of defending a legal challenge is paid by the estate itself. Therefore, engaging in this type of estate litigation may do little more than ruin relations and result in receiving only a partial inheritance.

Challenging a will may make it possible to obtain money, property or other assets left behind in a family member’s estate. Grounds for disputing such a document include an assertion that it wasn’t structured in accordance with state law or that it was created by a person who was mentally unfit to do so. It may also be possible to assert that changes were made as the result of undue influence.