Should I Contest a Relative’s Will?

Wills can be contested for a number of different reasons. For instance, a will may not have been signed and executed in accordance with state law or a decedent may have lacked the testamentary capacity to draft a will in the first place. However, it can be extremely difficult to successfully contest a will. As a result, cases are notorious for dragging on for months or even years and for being a significant financial drain on all of the parties involved. For this reason, it is critical that before attempting to contest a will, the potential plaintiff makes sure that he or she has standing to do so and that the concerns over the will’s validity are legitimate. If you have concerns about a relative’s will or want to learn more about what is required to contest a will, it is crucial to speak with an experienced contested estates attorney who can answer your questions.


In Illinois, only those who have a direct and pecuniary interest in a decedent’s estate can file a will contest. This can include heirs, the decedent’s creditors, individuals named in previous wills, and beneficiaries. These rules exclude a wide range of individuals from filing claims, so it is important for those who believe that they have a legitimate reason to contest a will to ensure that they have standing before putting in the time and money required to file a claim. Wills must also be contested within six months of the date that the document was admitted to probate.

Other Considerations

Even when a person does have standing to contest a will, it is not always in his or her best interests to do so. For this reason, the individual should consider all possible outcomes, including who else would be affected if the contest were successful. For instance, if a court were to invalidate a will and the decision would cost another family member the majority of their own inheritance, the plaintiff may want to reconsider going through with the suit. Potential plaintiffs should also consider how much it will cost to successfully challenge a will and whether the amount expended would be more than what he or she could receive. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that will contests often permanently impact family relationships. Even those with good intentions may be accused of being selfish or motivated by greed.

In some cases, contesting a will is necessary to ensure that the true wishes of the testator are realized. In other situations, however, the cost of filing this type of claim outweighs the rewards of success.

Contact us Today to Speak with an Experienced Contested Estates Attorney

If you believe that a relative’s will was drafted under duress or was not executed properly, please schedule an appointment for a free consultation with one of the experienced Evanston contested estates attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law by calling 847-325-5559 or by initiating a live chat with a member of our legal team.

Updated as of July 2019
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