Challenging the validity of a will isn’t a simple undertaking, so if you believe a loved one’s will is not valid, should conduct a careful assessment of their situation before moving forward. For help determining how strong your own case is, please contact Alan G. Orlowsky today.
Can You Prove the Decedent Was the Victim of Undue Influence?
In Illinois, courts are only willing to overturn a person’s will for a few specific reasons, one of which is a decedent’s will was the result of undue influence. To prove someone was the victim of undue influence, a claimant will need to provide evidence demonstrating the decedent was unable to exercise his/her own will in disposing of the estate. This can be a complex endeavor, as it generally requires proof a decedent was placed under severe stress when drafting or amending a will. Proof of threats, verbal abuse, and other underhanded means of manipulating a decedent can also be used to prove a decedent was taken advantage of. One of the most common examples of this involves a testator being purposely isolated from family or friends while drafting the will.
Can You Prove the Will Was Forged or the Result of Fraud?
If a testator was not the victim of undue influence, his/her will could still be invalidated by an heir or beneficiary if that individual can prove the document was forged or altered. To prove forgery, a claimant will need to demonstrate a testator was not present for the singing of the will, the witnesses were not qualified, or the will was signed in someone else’s handwriting.
Wills can also be invalidated if there is evidence a testator was defrauded in some way other than by forgery. For instance, tricking a testator into signing a document falls under this category and involves situations where a testator is presented with a false or manipulated will to sign, but told that it is a different document.
Can You Prove the Testator Was Incompetent?
Finally, a beneficiary or heir can contest a will if there is proof the testator didn’t possess the necessary mental abilities to dispose of his/her assets when the will was executed. Evidence a decedent changed his/her will immediately prior to death or drafted the document when suffering from dementia or a serious illness is considered strong evidence of a lack of testamentary capacity.
Do You Need Help Contesting a Will in the Chicagoland Area?
If you are contesting a loved one’s will and have questions about the strength of your case, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced Chicagoland area contested estates legal team at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law. You can set up an initial case review with one of our attorneys by calling 847-325-5559 or by completing one of our online contact forms.