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Boston Will Contest Lawyer – My Representation of Clients in Will Contests

Is someone trying to cheat you out of your rightful inheritance? Did another person exert undue influence over a loved one when that person made his or her will? If so, it is important to retain an experienced Massachusetts will contest lawyer.

I understand what is at stake, for you and your family, and will work tenaciously to protect and assert your rights to the inheritance due to you.

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Determining Mental Capacity in a Challenge to a Will or Trust

Challenging a Will Contest in Massachusetts– What is Involved?

Following a person’s death, there may be many people who may believe that they have a legitimate claim to a decedent’s assets, such as surviving children, a spouse or ex-spouse, other relatives, or those who may have a close connection with the decedent. Often, these claims are based upon verbal promises or “agreements” made the decedent. And when significant assets are at stake, the chance of a will contest may increase.

Is there a Valid Will?

The first issue of consideration is whether a valid will exists. If there is a valid will, such will governs the distribution of assets. It does not matter whether the decedent may have expressed verbal wishes to the contrary; if the will is valid, it will govern.

Even if a will is valid, the terms may be ambiguous as to how certain assets will be distributed, or the will may not take certain assets into account. In these cases, it’s important to retain a will contest lawyer to assert the rights of those who may be beneficiaries.

Although a Will Exists, It May Not be Valid

In Massachusetts, a will can be challenged on many grounds including:

  • Competency

    Was your loved one “of sound mind and body” when the will was drafted? This is also referred to as having “testamentary capacity.”

    For a person to be of sound mind, the person must understand the general nature of their estate, and they must understand that by executing a will, they are specifying how their assets are to be distributed.

  • Undue influence

    Did someone close to the deceased convince him or her to rewrite the will to the exclusion of others, or for such person’s own personal benefit?

    Undue influence can come in many forms. A caretaker may withhold food or other care unless the person includes the caretaker in the person’s will. An adult child may poison a parent’s mind with lies about other brothers and sisters in an effort to get the parent to disinherit such other family members.

    Whether a person exercised undue influence will be a matter of fact considering all circumstances, particularly the age, mental capacity, physical health, and other conditions of the decedent at the time the will was executed.

  • Fraud

    Is the will valid? Was it altered? Was it properly signed and witnessed?

    In Massachusetts, if the formalities relating to the execution of a will were not followed, the will may be invalid. It’s important to determine whether the proper legal conditions for making a will were fulfilled, and to determine whether the will was not altered or forged.

What Happens When a Will is Invalid?

When a will is declared invalid or void, all of the provisions in the will are also invalid or void. In Massachusetts, if there is no other surviving will that is valid, or no other estate distribution documents in effect, the distribution of the assets (and those who will inherit from the decedent) will be governed by Massachusetts intestate law. The resulting distribution of assets under intestate law may be very different from than the provisions set forth in the invalid will.

How I Help Clients in Will Contests

I help clients protect what is rightfully theirs by asserting their interests through negotiation and litigation. Since a deceased loved one can no longer speak their wishes, this is the only way to see that assets are rightfully distributed, both for those entitled to inherit, and potentially for future generations.

Contact me if you are in need of representation in a will contents. Because time is usually critical in these matters, it will be important to get involved as soon as possible so that your rights can be protected.

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