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3 reasons you could contest a will in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2021 | Will Contests

In Massachusetts, you have to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to make a will. State law requires that at least two people witness and sign the document in order for it to be valid.

1. Influence and fraud

If someone put extreme pressure on the testator to sign the will or include certain provisions in the will, then you could contest the will. However, you need evidence that the accused person unduly influenced the testator. Examples of situations you can use as evidence are isolating the testator from their friends and family, paying for the will and meeting with the testator’s attorney to discuss provisions in the will.

Will contests on the basis of fraud is difficult to prove but is also a reason you could contest the will. Fraud means that the testator didn’t know what they were signing. They may have thought they were signing the real will they drafted, but someone gave them an altered will. You can prevent this from happening to you by reading the entire will before signing.

In some cases, a person forges the testator signature and destroys the original will. If you suspect a forged signature, you can look into hiring a forensic handwriting expert to determine if the signature is real.

2. Lack of testamentary capacity

You could contest a will if the testator lacked testamentary capacity when they signed the will. This is difficult to prove without a doctor’s evaluation within days of the will’s signing. Testamentary capacity is the ability to understand the value of assets and the legal implications of signing the will.

3. Not in line with state law

Each state has laws governing the signing of wills. If the testator didn’t follow the requirements for creating a will, then it is invalid. You should read the current law code before signing your will to make sure it’s valid.

You can’t contest a will for disliking the provisions. The only reasons you can contest a will is when you have evidence that the will is fraudulent, the testator didn’t have testamentary capacity or the testator didn’t follow state law when signing it.