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Estate Litigation
Contesting A Will

Virginia Estate Law - Estate Litigation

Contesting A Will
Aid & Direction of The Court
Against Fiduciaries

There may be instances, after a decedent's will has been probated with the court, that a party in interest wishes to contest the will, or perhaps prove and probate another will that the party maintains is the true and correct will of the decedent.

The common grounds upon which a will is contested include:

The lack of the decedent's mental capacity at the time the will was made.
The failure to follow the requirements for properly making or executing the will under Virginia law.
Undue influence by a person who held a position of trust and confidence with the decedent, and using this position to unduly influence the decedent regarding the provisions of their will.
The use of duress, or other means to force the decedent to include provisions in their will that they otherwise would not have included.
Where the will is the result of fraud.

In such instances, there are 2 possible approaches to legal action to impeach the probated will.

An appeal of the clerk's order probating the will may be filed with the clerk within 6 months after the entry of the order of probate. Upon the filing of the appeal, the matter will be placed on the court's docket for hearing, usually in an expedited manner to avoid delay in the administration of the estate.

If the court has entered an order, either an order admitting the first will to probate, or an order on an appeal of the clerk's order of probate, a suit may be brought to impeach or establish a will within 1 year of the entry of the order admitting the first will to probate.

These filing periods are extended for minors and incapacitated persons during their incapacity, or persons who were not served personally and did not participate in the prior court proceeding admitting the first will to probate.

Each of the grounds for impeaching a will mentioned above has different elements that must be proved in order to successfully impeach a will. The determination of the viability of such a claim will require careful analysis of the facts and applicable law.

Aid & Direction of the Court >>>

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