A will is a legal document in Minnesota that a person creates to, among other things, establish the terms of how they would want their descendants or beneficiaries to receive their assets after passing away. In some instances, if an heir or other interested party doesn’t like the terms of the will, they may choose to contest it under the following legal grounds.
Failing to follow the required formalities when creating the will
For a will to be valid in Minnesota, the person that created it (the testator) must have it in writing and signed by at least two witnesses and themselves. In addition, they must be an adult (18 years or older) of sound mind and memory.
An element of coercion when creating the will
If someone exerted undue influence over the testator to get them to create a will that is not reflective of their true wishes, interested parties could challenge it in probate court. For example, if someone threatens violence against the testator or their loved ones unless they change their will in a certain way, this would likely invalidate the terms of the will.
Lack of testamentary capacity
To have testamentary capacity, a testator must comprehend the nature and extent of their assets, know who their natural heirs are, and understand the reason for creating their will. If you can prove that the testator was lacking in any of these key areas at the time they either created or updated their will, then you can file to invalidate it.
It’s important to note that in Minnesota, the people that can contest a will are typically limited to those that would have inherited under the terms of the will if no one contested it and the court found it invalid. This includes the testator’s surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren. Additionally, any person that the testator named in a previous will may also be able to contest the current will if they would inherit under the terms of that will. Finally, people whom the law would consider an heir of the testator (e.g., parents and siblings) may also be able to contest the will even if the testator did not specifically name them as a beneficiary.