The loss of a loved one is a devastating event, and can be a chaotic and confusing time for those left mourning. The making of phone calls to family and friends, the preparation of funeral arrangements, and the handling of other post-death matters must be addressed. But what do family members do when they find out that something suspicious has happened with their loved one’s last will and testament?
Maybe grandma left everything to her long-time caretaker only weeks before she died, or grandpa disinherited his children to the benefit of a cousin who lived nearby. Now the next of kin and the disinherited are dealing with grief and questions about how they address this unwelcome surprise.
The most important thing that must be understood is that any decision to challenge the will must be made quickly. R.C. § 2107.71 provides the authority to contest the validity of the last will and testament. R.C. § 2107.76 mandates that will contests must be filed no more than three months after the certificate of service is filed demonstrating that the surviving spouse, all next of kin, and all legatees and devisees named in the will have received notice of the will being probated. Pursuant to R.C. § 2107.73, heirs-at-law, beneficiaries named in prior testamentary documents, and other interested parties have standing to file a will contest.
Lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, duress, undue influence, and—in rare circumstances—improper execution of the will are all legal grounds to challenge a will. Because of the short time period for such a challenge, a person interested in invalidating a will should contact an attorney immediately to discuss these issues. Before doing so, the person should gather as much information as possible so he/she can discuss the decedent’s prior estate planning (if any), the decedent’s finances, the decedent’s medical history, and any other relevant documents to help the attorney evaluate the claim.
Please do not hesitate to contact Reminger Co., LPA at 844.923.6446 with your questions regarding will contests, so that we can discuss your unique situation and review the possible avenues to resolution.
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