Many people in Georgia have had the experience of being left out of a close family member’s will. Though the situation can be unpleasant both emotionally and financially, there is usually not anything that can be done about. However, there are rare cases where a survivor may contest the latest will and have it rendered invalid.
A will is usually considered invalid if the testator lacked the mental capacity to write it or they were coerced into writing it. If the testator had multiple versions of their will, a survivor will need to obtain all of the previous wills from the estate executor in order to determine when the change in beneficiaries occurred. If a survivor was named as a beneficiary in the previous will that was written before the most current will, they could argue that the most current version of the will is invalid.
A thorough estate executor may compare all versions of the deceased person’s will and alert any family members who were removed as beneficiaries. If a survivor does not find out they were removed from a will that way, they may find out by requesting a copy of the will from the probate court. The probate court may explain how long a survivor has to legally contest the will.
Contesting wills can be a time-consuming process, but if an estate is large enough, going through with a will contest could be in a person’s financial interest. Before filing a contest against a will, a person may want to have a lawyer look into their case to determine whether they have a good chance of winning. A lawyer might also help a person who has been left out of a will to reach a financial settlement outside of court through mediation.