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Standing and contesting a will

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Probate

Although many probate proceedings in Minnesota commence and conclude without any problems, there are instances where someone wishes to contest the will. A presumed beneficiary might feel slighted upon discovering the contents of the document. Contesting the will is an option when a person has both valid reasons and standing. Further clarification on standing may assist those wondering about their legal situation.

Standing and contesting a will

Standing refers to someone’s right to bring a lawsuit forth. If someone lacks standing, they have no right to file a legal claim. Laws vary among the different states and the rules for contesting a will in Minnesota detail who can take such actions. For beneficiaries and heirs to typically have standing, Minnesota law requires the person either be named in the current will or a previous version.

For example, someone’s spouse or child might be left out of a will. However, spouses and children can receive a decedent’s assets under intestate laws. As such, they may have standing to challenge a will.

Challenging the will

Although someone might not feel pleased with the directives in a will, that does not mean the Probate Court will reverse the testator’s decision. Besides having standing to contest a will, the litigant will need to prove problems with the document as written or the circumstances surrounding its drafting.

Someone who believes fraud or coercion led to the testator signing a will that does not reflect their wishes may attempt to prove such matters in court. Other reasons to contest a will include the testator’s lack of mental capacity or even forgery. The Probate Court will review evidence that supports such claims.