Who Can Contest a Will?

Updated: Nov 15


No, contesting a Will is not limited to Netflix dramas. It happens in real life as well, but not everyone can challenge a Will. Thus, you cannot challenge your cousin's Will just because you believe his estate would be better off in the hands of another relative or you do not believe you received a fair share, if any at all.


According to basic probate laws, only “interested parties" may challenge a Will. This requirement is called “standing”.


A person who has “standing” to challenge a Will is typically someone who is named on the face of the Will (such as a beneficiary) or someone who is not a beneficiary but who would inherit (or lose) if the Will were declared invalid.


This typically includes children, heirs, spouse, creditors or anyone having a right or claim against the estate. Therefore, those who may challenge a Will generally fall into one of three main categories:


1. Beneficiaries of a prior Will
2. Beneficiaries of a subsequent Will
3. Intestate heirs

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries have standing to challenge a Will. Beneficiaries are those who are named in a Will and include not only family members, but also friends, charitable organizations (like churches and universities) and even pets.


Heirs

Heirs are relatives who inherit when a decedent dies “intestate” i.e. without a Will. This includes the spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings.


The Case of Minors

Under some laws, minors who would like to challenge a Will may do so, but only after they reach the age of majority (typically 18). This is because minors are not legally capable of initiating legal proceedings, except with the assistance of an administrator or court representative.


‘No-Contest’ Clauses

Wills sometimes have what is known as a “no-contest” clause as a condition of the Will. Because a “no-contest” clause often forces a contesting beneficiary to make a “take it or leave it” decision or risk losing everything, “no-contest” clauses are generally not enforceable.


Writing your Will is the very first step. Equally important is to store your Will online, to ensure that it will be found in a timely manner. liteWill is the only global platform which offers the solution to store your Will online.


‘A Will that is not online is like a Will that does not exist’


This portion of the website is for information only. The statements and opinions are the expression of their author, not of liteWill, and have not been evaluated for accuracy, completeness or changes in the law. Information contained in this article is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

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