A will contest (called a caveat in Georgia) ensues when someone brings a legal challenge to a will filed for probate. When probate is initiated, the probate court allows interested parties an opportunity to object to the will. The challenger (called a caveator in Georgia) seeks to overturn the entire will or one or more provisions of the will because he or she believes the will is invalid in some way. State statutes determine how the will contest proceeds in the judicial system and mandate that a will challenge be brought within certain time limits. State statutes also provide the grounds for contesting a will. Normally, the grounds include incapacity, undue influence, fraud, improper execution, or the existence of a later valid will.
A testator must have “testamentary capacity” in order to make a valid will. Generally that requires that the testator be of “sound mind,” as shown by the testator’s capacity to (1) understand the nature and extent of his or her property, (2) know the persons who would naturally benefit from the will, and (3) realize…learn more »
A will can be overturned if the challenger proves that at the time the will was made, the testator was subjected to such strong influence by another that the testator made a disposition of estate property that he or she otherwise would not have done. Coercion and duress are examples of undue influence.learn more »
To invalidate a will on grounds of fraud, the challenger generally must show that the testator relied on a fraudulent misrepresentation and was deceived by it when he or she executed the will. Evidence of only the opportunity or motive for fraud, without showing that the fraud had an effect on the testator, is not…learn more »
Each state has procedural requirements for the execution of a will, generally including a number of required witnesses. Many states also require that the will be in writing or that the signatures of the testator or witnesses be notarized. A will that does not conform to statutory requirements may be held to be invalid.learn more »
Generally, a validly executed later will is presumed to revoke any prior wills. You should consult an experienced probate attorney if: You are the executor of a will that is the subject of a will contest; You are the beneficiary of a will that is the subject of a will contest; or You want to…learn more »