Will Contest Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Will Contest, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Will Contest?

(v) A will is a willful recording of the wishes of the deceased person declaring the methods how his property is to be dealt after his death. To be legally binding, such a document must have executed voluntarily with his full presence of mind . If it was made under any influence like coercion, alcohol, lunatic stage etc they are not enforceable and can be challenged. Challenging such will is called will contest.

History and Meaning of Will Contest

A will contest refers to a legal dispute that arises after the death of someone who has made a will. Typically, a will contest occurs when someone who would normally expect to receive an inheritance is either left out of the will or receives less than they had anticipated. Will contests can be initiated on a number of grounds, including undue influence or coercion, fraud, lack of testamentary capacity, or improper execution of the will.

Will contests are not a new phenomenon, and have been around for centuries. In fact, the concept of the will itself is ancient, with evidence of written wills dating back to ancient Roman times. Throughout history, wills have been challenged for a variety of reasons, including fraud, duress, and mental incompetence.

Examples of Will Contest

  1. A wealthy businessman dies, leaving a will that leaves everything to his second wife and nothing to his children from a previous marriage. The children decide to contest the will, arguing that their father was coerced into leaving everything to his second wife.

  2. An elderly woman dies, leaving a will that distributes her assets equally between her three children. One of the children decides to contest the will, claiming that the other two children coerced their mother into leaving everything to them.

  3. A man writes his own will, leaving everything to his pet dog. The man's family is outraged and decides to contest the will, arguing that the man did not have the mental capacity to make such a decision.

Legal Terms Similar to Will Contest

  1. Intestate succession: This refers to the process by which a person's estate is distributed when there is no will. In such cases, the estate is typically distributed according to state law.

  2. Trust litigation: Trust litigation is similar to will contest, but arises in the context of a trust rather than a will.

  3. Probate litigation: This term refers to any type of legal dispute that arises in connection with the probate process.