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Contesting a will

Many people living in Illinois understand the importance of writing a will as part of their estate plan. However, there are situations in which the legitimacy of a will is questioned by parties that might be entitled to benefit from somebody's estate. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to go to court to contest the document.

Unfortunately, there are situations in which an estate plan may distress a friend, a family member, or the leadership of a charitable organization. An individual or organizational leader may believe that the testator intended to make provisions for them but, for some reason, it was not expressed in the will.

In most cases, the fact that a person or organization was not provided for in a will is a simple reflection of the decedent's wishes. However, there may be situations in which the will may not be valid because the decedent might have been incompetent when preparing it. The will may also have been forged or written under duress.

If a party has standing to do so, it may be possible to contest the will in court. Standing means that an individual would be considered an heir if the deceased died without a will or had been a beneficiary in a previously executed will. Organizations have standing if named in a prior will.

Contesting a will is difficult and the standards of proving that a will was somehow defective are high. An attorney who is experienced in estate administration may be able to review the case and provide guidance throughout the process. 

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