What Should I Anticipate When Challenging A Will?

What Can I Expect When Contesting a Will?

Someone you love has just passed away and you are going through a very tough emotional patch. Now you find out you were totally left out of your loved ones will. Is there anything you can do about it?

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. It happens a lot when there are fractured families and a divorced parent leaves everything to the stepparent instead of the children. It happens on purpose and it can happen totally by accident. Here is what happens if you are unhappy with the contents of the will and want to do something about it.

It Can Cost a Lot of Money to Contest a Will

Decide if what you are fighting for is worth the legal fees attorneys charge for their service. This could be up to a third of what you get and the attorney will only get compensated if you win.

Lawyers usually won’t work on a fee basis because the risk is too high that they won’t get paid if they are not successful. Always check out the attorney before hiring and know their fees, reputation, and experience.

Be Ready for an Emotional Roller Coaster

There will be those (including relatives you thought you were close to) wh will oppose you, lie to you, and accuse you of everything under the sun. You may be subject to a counter lawsuit. You will have to give a deposition where the lawyer opposing you will try to make you look greedy, that you did not care about the deceased when they were alive, and question your character.

Be Ready and Informed

Your attorney will expect you to be on top of the case. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, it needs to be done shortly after the death of your loved one. There is a statute of limitations that you must be aware of making it important to take action as soon as possible. Your attorney will keep you informed of timeframes and advise you on what they need to help develop a strong case for you.

Most Lawsuits Settle Without Going to Trial

Your attorney will discuss whether your case is strong or not and how to proceed. It is common for one side to offer a settlement in lieu of taking the case to trial.  You can avoid a lot of attorney expenses by agreeing to a settlement. In addition, going to trial can be time-consuming and you can still end up with nothing. Weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement versus the risks or rewards of going to trial to determine your next step.

Is it Worth the Trouble?

Are the rewards from winning a lawsuit contesting your loved one’s will worth the emotional damage likely caused between you and your family? Nothing will bring back the deceased. You will have to live with the possible accusations and hurt feelings that will emerge because of the lawsuit. If you truly feel that the deceased’s will was incorrect and you should rightfully inherit a portion of their estate, it is your right to try to contest the will.