A probate lawyer is one who deals in the dissemination of an estate after a person has died. They may help handle the reading of the will and help with the dispersal of assets and can also help a person design and word their will so they know their wishes will be respected after their passing. A probate lawyer can also help someone who wants to contest a will or how an estate was handled after a person's death. Not every will can or should be contested, as people often think they have rights to an estate when they do not or assume how the law works in dictating how wills are fashioned. However, this doesn't mean you should never contest a will that's been opened and read; note when you would want to check with a probate lawyer about contesting someone's will.
1. When you think the will or the signature are forgeries
If you know the signature on the will doesn't match that of the deceased person, taking into account how their handwriting might change due to age or physical illnesses, you want to call a probate lawyer. Forging a will or a signature is very serious and it can mean going through probate court to determine if the will was indeed valid, and if it's proven that it's been forged, other procedures are in place for determining a deceased person's wishes.
2. If you think a person was coerced
If a person was coerced into changing their will or wording it a particular way, this is something that can be heard in court. The phrase "undue influence" is used to describe this coercion and it can be reason to void a will or question certain parts of it. It's unfortunate but it's not unusual for a caregiver or someone else to coerce an elderly person into changing their will by using threats, exaggerated stories of need, and so on, and if this is proven in court to have been a factor in the design of the will, it may be changed legally.
3. If the will is very outdated
A person may have made a will decades ago, before they had grandchildren or even children, before they married a second time, and the like. A court doesn't always change such outdated wills, but if it can be proven that the person would have reasonably included their new family, a charitable cause, a religion, and other such persons in their will, or would have omitted someone they haven't spoken to in the past few decades, this might be reason to speak to a probate lawyer.
If you have more questions about the validity of your loved one's will, contact experienced probate lawyers in your area.
Welcome! My name is Jessica, and I work as a legal aid secretary. I am in awe of the lawyers in my office and the variety of cases they cover. From injury compensation to family court matters, they need to understand the law in a broad range of areas. As a legal secretary, it is often my job to research particular points of law or find certain cases for reference. It is a fascinating job and I work hard to keep up with the constant changes to our laws and legal processes. Friends and family often ask me for direction on legal matters and whilst I explain that I am no expert, I usually manage to provide sound advice. This blog is for people who share my passion for the law or who want to understand more about our legal system. I hope you find it engaging and useful.