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When may someone contest a will during probate in Oklahoma?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2023 | Probate and Trust Administration

Under Title 58 of Oklahoma’s statutes, an interested party may contest a will within three months of its submission to the probate court. Filing a claim, however, requires evidence, and it could lengthen the probate process.

If an interested party claims to have proof that the deceased updated his or her will and a newer version exists, they may contest the version submitted to probate. The probate court may ask to see a codicil or a revised will that the deceased made after creating the first submission. In some cases, an individual may have a valid document that proves the deceased revoked a previous will and then executed a new one.

Diminished mental capacity

A common reason for contesting a will involves a claim that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to execute it. According to the Oklahoma Bar Association’s website, this type of claim requires showing the deceased created it with diminished capacity.

The National Library of Medicine describes four mental capacity factors individuals must possess when creating a valid will. Testators must:

  • Understand the purpose of a will
  • Know the extent and nature of their assets or property
  • Know the names of their heirs and any individuals who might file claims for their property
  • Have planned to distribute their assets after death

Wills created through undue influence

If an interested party believes someone used fraud or coercion to force the deceased to create or revise a will, they may file a claim during probate. The claim could require showing someone exerted an undue influence over the deceased, such as isolating the will’s creator from friends and family.

Contesting the asset distributions or heirs listed in a will could hold up probate. The court may require evidence of coercion or the testator’s mental capacity.