The modern family looks much different than it did years ago. This makes the estate planning process a bit more difficult. Given such, family members may have questions over the validity of a loved one’s will. This is especially true when a loved one passes as part of a mixed family unit. This can mean having stepchildren and/or second spouses. If you believe a loved one’s will needs to undergo probate litigation, the estate litigation attorneys of Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam are here for you.
Probate Litigation is necessary when there is a dispute between the terms of a will and who is in charge of the estate. During probate litigation, the court will look for reasons why the will may not be valid, including:
Be it the over-exertion of control by one family member or caretaker, or that of another third party, undue influence looks to see if the will represents the deceased’s own wishes. Their concern is that the will may be the result of manipulation by another. To prove undue influence has occurred, the court asks the family to show the following:
In Pennsylvania, for a will to be valid, the deceased must have been of sound mind at its creation. However, in cases where the deceased created the will when they lacked the mental capacity to understand the extent of his or her estate and the beneficiaries, the will is likely invalid. Depleted testamentary capacity can be the result of:
In cases where an individual cheats the will creator and their beneficiaries from assets of the estate, the will can be found invalid on the basis of fraud.
In some cases, the fraud will not be as obvious as manipulating the individual. Instead, it can be that the will creator was seeking advice on the creation of the will. The third-party can deceive the will’s creator into committing an error in the will’s creation, execution, and administration of the estate.
In Pennsylvania, for a will to be valid, it must contain the legal signature of the deceased. However, in some will contests, the family may question the authenticity of the deceased’s signature on some or all estate planning documents.
In cases where the court suspects forgery, they will compare the signature to other legal documents as well as have it be studied by handwriting experts.
In order for a will to be valid in Pennsylvania, the will must:
If any of these elements did not occur, the will is invalid under improper execution.
When you have concerns that the validity of a loved one’s estate is in question, you need a compassionate and dedicated team of probate litigation attorneys to review the case. Contact the NEPA probate litigation attorneys of Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam today for a no-obligation consultation.
Call (570) 348-0776 and schedule an appointment with Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam. We can walk you through, step by step, all the legal options available to you.
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