Challenging the validity of a will


Some thoughts about when challenging or contesting a will might be successful.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Chris, on a regular basis I had people call me up and say "Tom I want to challenge this will. It's no fair, it's not right. My parents cut me out, I want to sue." And here's how I determine that. I say, "Look, can you send me a copy of the will, or take a look at it. If that will was prepared by one of the kids who got all the money and that will was witnessed by the kids' best friends, [clears throat] guess what? It's automatically suspect, likely to be challenged."

If that will was prepared by an attorney's office, witnessed by the attorney, and the attorney staff, it's rock solid, as a general rule, Chris.

Chrissy: Okay, all right, thank you very much.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Take a look at the will. If it's handwritten, and got sideways writing, and looks like dad was heavily medicated --you can look at the will, and really come to a pretty easy conclusion about whether or not it can be challenged, or not.

Chrissy: It seems like it was changed maybe a couple of months before he died, and he was on medications and stuff like that. But he's just not sure if it's worth it, to go and fight that, or not.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, Chris, by the way, is there a probate started for your grandfather?

Chrissy: I believe so.

Attorney Tom Olsen: If a probate has been started, your father would have three months to challenged that will. So it's not like he can sit around and twiddle his thumbs and make up his mind later. If this probate's going on, the clock is ticking for three months.