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5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
Contesting A Will
Reason #1 – Lack of Testamentary Capacity (Competency)
While lack of testamentary capacity is valid reason for contesting a will it can be very difficult to prove. Depending on whether you are in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. the statutes surrounding this area of estate law could vary, but in every case the standards are high. In order for a lack of competency to be proven, it must be established that one of the following occurred during the signing of the will.
- Testator did not understand the value of his or her assets
- Testator did not know to whom he or she was bequeathing the assets
- Testator did not fully understand the legal implications of what he or she was signing
Reason #2 – Fraud
In the Bible, Jacob disguised himself with goat’s hair to make is aged father believe Jacob was his apparently hairy older brother Esau. Some people will go to just about any lengths to get a big piece of an inheritance. When a person is tricked into signing a will that he or she did not know was a will, this would be considered a fraudulent will. In most cases this is a close family member, but could also be a caregiver or trusted friend. The testator may be told he or she is signing a power of attorney and instead unwittingly sign over the entire estate.
Reason #3 – Invalid Signature
Again, each state has its own specific ideas on what constitutes the legal signing of will. For example, in Virginia the testator must sign the will with two competent witnesses who must also sign the will in front of testator. The same is true for Maryland and a while a notary is not necessary in either state, in Virginia a notary can replace the need for witnesses at probate. If a loved one’s will was not signed in front of two witnesses and sign by those witnesses, or if it was not notarized instead, the will may be considered invalid.
Reason #4 – Undue Influence/Duress
The beginning and the end of a person’s life are the times when they are most vulnerable to the influence of others. The mental and physical weakness that often come with old age make us all susceptible to being manipulated into doing things we don’t want to. When a loved one may have been under duress so as to lose their free choice when signing their will, undue influence may have been at play.
Speak With a Virginia Attorney in a Free Consultation
If you believe one or more of the above reasons is applicable to your family’s situation, don’t hesitate to call our firm for appropriate legal counsel. Our attorneys are uniquely experienced in will contests and are poised to serve you and your family well. Our phone number is 703-370-8088. Contact Kamerow Law today for a free consultation with our wrongful death attorneys to discuss your legal options.