9 Tips for Contesting a Will

If your family has become divided after a loved one’s passing (a dispute over assets triggered by a disgruntled prospective heir, a caregiver with an agenda, or arguments over the validity of a will), it is crucial to hire an experienced Huntsville estate lawyer. Below are nine tips on contesting a will:

  1. What if I’m not the executor of the estate? If an executor is not doing their job properly, some steps can be taken. The executor is accountable to the probate court and legal standards.  An executor must comply with statutory requirements.

  2. Who pays the legal costs for contesting a will? In some cases, the cost of contesting a will, including legal costs, can be paid or reimbursed by the estate.

  3. If I challenge a will, do I have to go to court?  When a will is challenged, the dispute can sometimes be resolved by a settlement agreement between the parties and without a court hearing.

  4. Can undue influence be the basis of contesting a will?  Undue influence can be the basis of contesting a will.

  5. Can incapacity be the basis of contesting a will?  Incapacity can be the basis of contesting a will.

  6. I was financially dependent on the deceased. What are my options?  There are many bases for contesting a will.  An experienced estate attorney can review the facts and give you an informed assessment of the chances of prevailing on a claim.

  7. I’m estranged from my parents. Can I claim their estate?  A child who is estranged from his deceased parents may nevertheless have a claim against the estate.  An experienced lawyer can review the facts and give you an informed assessment of the likelihood of success on such a claim.

  8. Can I challenge a will if the testator was in Hospice care at the time they made it?  If someone meets the legal definition of incapacity when they sign their will, the will may be subject to challenge.  Just because someone was under Hospice care at the time does not in and of itself constitute a basis for a challenge.

  9. Can I challenge “changes” made to a will by handwritten notes on the original?  A will must be properly executed and witnessed to be valid. That means that it must be signed before a notary public or at least two witnesses. If someone makes handwritten changes to a will that were not witnessed in this way, those changes may be invalid and, depending upon how they are made, could invalidate the will itself.


Whether a decedent was alleged to be incompetent or subject to undue influence during the writing of a will, or a will was mysteriously changed at the last minute, you can depend on Richardson Maples’ Huntsville estate lawyers to aggressively protect your rights. Contact us today at (256) 533-2440, or visit https://www.richardsonmaples.com/.