One of the most basic and at the same time most important documents of an estate plan in Ohio is a will. This document states people’s wishes for who will receive their property when they pass away, but the will still needs to go through the probate process to actually distribute the property to the appropriate beneficiaries. The personal representative named in the will and the beneficiaries may not have seen a copy of the will before the person passed away though and once they see it, sometimes it leads to conflict.
The beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries may be surprised by the property, or lack of property, being passed to them through the will. This may lead to questions about the validity of the will. There are different reasons that people can challenge a will in probate, but some reasons are more common than others.
Reasons people challenge wills
Some of the more common reasons people challenge wills are:
- The will does not conform to the legal requirements for the state, such as there were not two witnesses to the signing of the will.
- The deceased did not have the capacity to sign the will, meaning that they did not understand what was stated in the document and who would be receiving their property when they pass away.
- Another person or people unduly influenced or threatened the deceased in some way to give them more of an inheritance or to cut others out of the will.
- The will was procured by fraud. This could be forging the deceased’s signature on the will or tricking the deceased into signing the will by telling them they were signing something else.
When a will in Ohio is going through probate the testator is no longer alive and available to state their wishes or defend the will. People must rely on what is written and other evidence of the deceased’s true intentions. Sometimes it is clear the will does not state the true wishes of the deceased and people may challenge the will in probate. Experienced attorneys understand the basis for different challenges and may be a beneficial resource.