At death a will controls the disposition of the probate estate. Likewise, a trust agreement controls the disposition of property owned by the trust. The will or trust’s validity – or invalidity – can impact who will ultimately inherit the probate estate or receive the trust property. In almost all states, probate courts (or similar type courts) have the power to accept or deny the admission of a will to probate and to determine the validity of a trust.
While laws may differ from state to state, the grounds upon which a will or trust can be challenged are:
- A lack of mental capacity to sign the document. Plainly stated the person was incapable of understanding what they were signing.
- Fraud, duress, undue influence and mistake. If a person is pressured or tricked into signing a document which is contrary to their wishes it is invalid. Evidence of undue influence or illegal pressure may be that the will or trust inexplicably ignores one or more family members or other natural objects of the person’s affection especially when the document contradicts earlier wills or trusts.
- Faulty execution of the document. Each state establishes rules for how a valid will must be signed. If there are insufficient witnesses or if the purported witnesses were not present when the person signed his or her will, it will be invalid. Likewise a trust incorrectly signed may be overturned.
If you believe you have been wrongfully denied your rightful inheritance or property from a trust and would like to contact us, use the “Get Started” submission form, give us a call (203-787-9222) or simply email us (email@example.com)