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What are the grounds for contesting a will?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Estate & Trust Disputes

Contesting a will is a complex legal process and should not be undertaken lightly. If you’re considering contesting a will in South Dakota, it’s essential to understand the grounds on which you can do so.

We will provide information about those grounds so you can make an informed decision.

Who can contest a will?

Contesting a will can be a challenging and emotionally-charged process. It should be no surprise that the evidence required for a successful lawsuit is quite robust. In fact, one must have been named in the will and provide substantial proof that the original document did not reflect the true wishes of the person who created it for their legal challenge to be successful. 

Here are three common reasons for litigation:

  1. Lack of testamentary capacity: This refers to a situation where it is alleged that at the time of signing the will, the testator was either mentally impaired or under duress and not in an appropriate mental state to make such an important legal decision.
  2. Undue influence: Undue influence occurs when one party uses their relationship or authority to influence another in a way that produces unfair outcomes or decides against the wishes of the deceased when they were alive.
  3. Fraud: If you believe a will is fraudulent, for example, through forgery or misrepresentation, you’ll need to present evidence to prove it. This can empower the court to disregard it or even change its contents.

If you feel you have grounds to contest a will, it’s important to reach out to someone who can help guide you through the process. While it may be daunting, taking legal action is often the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get what you’re entitled to receive.