There are several reasons why a person may choose to contest a will. For instance, the belief that the will is fraudulent, that the person signing the will lacked the mental capacity to enter into this legal agreement, that the person signing the will was coerced into signing it, or that the will unfairly compensates you are all legal reasons for contesting a will in the State of Washington. However, before you decide to move forward with your probate case, there are a few facts that you should know.
Fact #1: The State Of Washington Only Allows Four Months To File A Claim
All states will impose a statute of limitations on probate cases. In the State of Washington, this statute of limitations is only four months. The reason for this short time limit is to ensure that family members are able to quickly execute the estate of a recently deceased loved one. This time limit will begin as soon as you or any other interested parties are given notice of the probate proceedings. If you allow this time limit to expire, you will no longer be able to legally contest the will even if you are able to prove your case.
Fact #2: There Are Limits To Who Can Contest A Will
Not everyone has the right to contest a will, even if they possess knowledge that the will is fraudulent or was signed under duress. Currently, the law only allows for spouses, life partners, children, and parents to contest the will of a loved one. In very select cases, the law may also provide for the right of grandparents or stepchildren to contest a will if they can prove they were unfairly represented in the will.
Unlike many other civil cases, probate law does not limit the number of people who can legally contest a will. This means that a parent, a spouse, and a child can all choose to contest the same will for varying reasons.
Fact #3: Probate Cases Can Become Very Complex
A will is a person's last opportunity to have their wishes heard. Consequently, the courts will always lean toward protecting the rights of the deceased. This can make wining a probate case incredibly difficult. This is especially true in cases where the goal is to have the will thrown out on the basis of diminished capacity or coercion. This is why it is so important to always seek out the legal representation of a qualified probate attorney.
For more information, contact Davis & Mathis or a similar firm.