In Tennessee, you have limited time to contest a will. But when you aren’t sure if you have a valid reason to contest a will, you may wonder, what signs should I look for? While knowing the terms of your will contest is important, you need to know that in order to be successful, you need to hire an experienced wills contest attorney like Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC to guide you through the process.
Tennessee Will Contests: Four Reasons to Contest a Tennessee Will
In Tennessee, only some individuals can contest a will. These people include those who would have been entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate; or someone who will stand to receive something in the deceased’s will.
For those who have the legal standing to challenge a will, they must prove the will is invalid. The four reasons a will may be invalid are:
1. The will was not completed properly. A Tennessee will is only valid when:
- The will is in writing and signed by either the testator or someone who was directed to do so by the testator;
- The testator’s signature appears to give effect to the will and was made or acknowledged in the presence of at least two witnesses;
- Each witness must either sign or attest the will, or acknowledge the signature in the presence of a testator; and
- The legal presumption that the will has been validly executed unless evidence says otherwise.
2. Lack of mental capacity. In Tennessee, mental capacity, also known as testamentary capacity, is determined by the test “of sound mind and disposing memory.” To test for testamentary capacity, the court must decide if the will-maker understood the nature and effect of the will, and the extent of the property the person is seeking to dispose of.
3. Undue Influence was present. While it’s difficult to determine if someone was manipulated as a result of undue influence after death, there may be signs from the terms of the will to be on the lookout for. These signs include:
- Assets and property are distributed to unexpected people.
- There was a confidential relationship between the testator and the influencer.
- The testator was vulnerable.
- The influencer had benefited from the estate.
4. Will by fraud. A will that is signed by someone who thinks they are signing some other type of document or with different provisions that are procured by fraud.
Will contests are complicated–but Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can help.
Contact Our Nashville Will Contest Lawyers Now
If you are questioning the validity of a loved one’s will, you’ll need legal advice on how to proceed. The Tennessee wills contest lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have years of experience helping clients throughout Nashville, Springfield, and Middle Tennessee with their estate planning. Contact us today for more information.