If a loved one’s will was recently admitted to probate in Kansas, and you have concerns that this may be invalid for one or any number of reasons, sharing these concerns with a Kansas will contest lawyer is the best way to approach this case and understand what is involved in contesting a will. The rules related to the requirements for creating and executing a valid will in Kansas are found in KS Stat § 59-601 et seq.
Understanding the Role of a Will
Wills contain legal mandates for how a deceased’s property is to be distributed. This can include naming beneficiaries who are to receive certain things or even naming beneficiaries that are to be excluded. This is an important distinction because it is not enough to initiate a probate dispute with the help of a Kansas will contest lawyer, without recognizing your standing in the case, as well as there being legal grounds to contest the will’s validity itself. Being upset with how a family member has chosen to distribute their estate is not the same thing as actions that could invalidate the verbiage or provisions within the estate. If you feel that you were wrongly excluded from the will or are disappointed with your share of the estate because you have reasons to believe this would have looked differently, you may be able to contest the will with the help of a will contest attorney in Kansas.
Many contentions, however, are not successful because you cannot just contest a will in Kansas because you want to. You need to have a solid legal basis for your claim and evidence that supports it. You can only trigger a will contest in Kansas if you have standing, such as would have been a beneficiary in a previous version of the will or named in the will already, or would have been able to inherit property if the will was not in existence.
Standing to Contest a Will
In order to have appropriate standing to contest a will with the help of a will contest attorney serving Kansas, you will need to demonstrate something about the will’s process as being illegal. Even though the distribution of assets might seem unfair, you will not have appropriate standing if the will meets all of the regulatory requirements. Only those beneficiaries named in the will, those who are not named in the will but would have inherited under state intestacy laws, or beneficiaries written out of the most recent version of the will but named in a previous will have the proper standing to move forward.
Reasons to Contest a Will
The legal grounds for contesting a will are several in number and more than one might apply in your individual case. Allegations that the testator was not mentally competent are the first example, arguing that the testator was not of sound mind at the time that they created this document.
A second reason to contest a will is when you have arguments that the testator was under undue influence, such as a relative taking advantage of the testator or a caregiver who argues that they should receive a good portion or the entirety of the estate. The third reason to contest a will in Kansas is when it is not legally valid because it does not meet the laws of Kansas, such as a modification being made to the will without two witnesses signing it, wills not being signed by two witnesses to begin with, attempting to distribute property that they are not legally allowed to distribute or when the testator was tricked into signing the will. Furthermore, if the will is incomplete or if there is a more recent version of the will, all of these can lead to circumstances that enable a party with standing to trigger a will contest.
A will contest will have implications throughout your entire family, especially when this amplifies emotional conflict. This is why it is so important to get the support and involvement of an attorney early on to ensure that you have appropriate standing and legal reasons to argue that the will is invalid.