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What is a Will Contest?

Will Contest disputes a last will and testament

Unlike overtime in a UofL vs. UK game, a contest of wills and a Will contest are not the same things.  So, what is a Will contest?

When someone disagrees with a legal Will, that person may attempt to contest the Will.  This could be due to having been left out of the proceeds, a disagreement about how the property was divided, even a disagreement about the validity of the Will itself.  There could be other reasons, but these seem to be more common.

Another common reason is the potential that someone exerted undue influence over the decisions made in the Will.  For instance, that person could attempt to play on the emotions of the elderly person who was drafting a will, in hopes of increasing his/her portion of the proceeds.

As with other legal issues, timing is important.  There’s a window of 2 years, once the Will has been admitted for probate.  This defined period of time prevents someone from trying to raise issues years down the road.  It also allows for the intent of the Will to be implemented within a reasonable length of time.

There are other deadlines involved.  You would also want to act quickly to attempt to prevent the executor or executrix from making distributions to heirs.  After all, that may be the very point you’d be trying to avoid via the Will contest.

The law also requires someone to have legal standing to be a party to a Will contest in Kentucky.  For instance, just because you disagree, doesn’t mean you have a legal right to attempt to stop the Will’s directives.  This might be the case if the person attempting to file the Will contest was simply a neighbor.  However, if you were included in a previous Will, but later excluded in the current will, you could potentially have standing to contest it.

If you want to avoid having your Will potentially contested in Kentucky, one way would be to “no contest” statement.  This clause would automatically exclude an heir (or potential heir), if he/she would attempt to contest any aspect of the Will.

The Scheynost Law Offices understands the importance of private matters.  Attorney Scott Scheynost commonly recommends including a “no contest” clause in the Wills he drafts for his clients.  Nothing breaks apart family relations quicker that arguments over money from a deceased relative.  One way to potentially avoid that issue, is by discussing your concerns before the Will is finalized.