Will & Testament
Wills and Trusts operate similarly as they control and designate the division of assets. However, unlike a Trust, a Will is not a private document. For such reason, the steps to making a Will binding and valid require more than just its creation.
The power of a Will relies exclusively on the court. Essentially, this means that for a Will to take effect, a court must issue an order giving it its power, constituting its validity. This is achieved through admitting a Will to probate. Probate is the process of the court, in which the court oversees and manages the administration of the estate and constitutes the validity of the Will. The primary step in probate is determining validity; without having a valid Will, no assets can be passed, and the estate remains stagnant. Therefore if there is a potential that the Will has been compromised or you believe there are grounds for a Will contest, it is crucial to file a contest with the court before probate ensues. This is to avoid having an invalid will deemed valid; if that occurs, it may be too late to recover any lost assets or alter the distribution of assets, and the Will will be executed as written.
In the event that a Will goes through the motions of probate and an order is issued before a contest can be brought, some steps can be taken to mitigate the issue. Similar to a Trust, a Will is also bound by the 120-day limitation (Trusts have to be contested within 120 days of a beneficiary receiving notice of the Trust). If unable to contest before probate, a person could still request that the court revoke the probate if it is filed within 120 days from the time probate begins. However, like a 120-day notice for a Trust, nothing can be done if the 120 days pass, so proper timing and prompt action are essential.
Overall the urgency of a Will contest relies on when the Petition for Probate is filed. If no one files a Petition for Probate, then the deadline to contest never expires. When or if a Petition for Probate is brought, it is time to act and seek out a skilled attorney to begin the process.
If you believe your inheritance is in jeopardy, please reach out to The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys to see what you can do. Our firm offers free consultations and specializes in Trust and Will litigation. We are here to help you protect your inheritance and ensure your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled honestly.