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Individuals who can challenge a will

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | Will Contests

In the state of Massachusetts, there are specific people who are legally allowed to challenge a will. This is known as “standing to contest a will.”

People who can challenge a will in Massachusetts

Probate law in Massachusetts stipulates that only “interested parties” have the legal standing to challenge a will. These people include:

  • Beneficiaries named in the will
  • Heirs named in the previous will but are no longer present in the new one
  • People not named in the will but would be eligible to inherit part of the decedent’s assets if there were no will
  • Creditors or any other person whose rights over the decedent’s assets

These parties must prove that the will or the process of its execution harmed or affected their interests. This harm must have occurred within six months of when the court opened probate.

Grounds for contesting a will

Will contests can only occur for either one or more of the following reasons:

  • The testator (will creator) lacked the mental capacity to make a will or was under undue influence when they created the will.
  • You can prove that the document is not valid, i.e., it’s forged or someone tampered with it.
  • The testator failed to follow the required legal steps and procedures while creating the will.
  • The decedent omitted you from their will even though they had a duty to provide for you as an eligible heir or beneficiary.

If any of these conditions apply to your case, you may be able to file a complaint in the county where the decedent resided. This will kick-start the process to challenge the will and initiate an investigation into its validity. If your suit succeeds, the court may modify the will or set aside its provisions altogether.