When a loved one dies, finding out that you are not in their will can add to the pain of the loss. If you were expecting to inherit from the estate, finding yourself disinherited can be challenging to accept.

Contesting a will can be a long, complicated process, but in very specific circumstances, you may be able to overturn the will and get the estate settlement you deserve. Here are some tips on starting the process.

Get a Legal Advisor You Can Trust, and Listen to Them

Your first step to contesting a will is to find legal representation and have an honest conversation with them about the nature of the estate and why you think you were not included in the will. Overturning a will is arduous, requiring claimants to meet precise requirements.

If you have a weak case or if the legal costs will outweigh the possible inheritance you could receive from the state, a good legal advisor will recommend not pursuing the claim. If they give you this advice, you would probably do well to save yourself the expense and emotional trauma of litigation.

Understand How Contesting a Will Works

In Georgia, the only way to overturn a will is to prove that the decedent’s judgment was affected in some way when they signed the will:

  • Incapacity – they suffered from dementia, mental illness, or the effects of drugs or alcohol when they signed the will.
  • Fraud – they made and signed the will based on fraud committed or fraudulent information provided by another person.
  • Undue influence – they were coerced or under duress when they signed the will.
  • Improper execution – in Georgia, a will not containing the signatures of two witnesses and other specific information may be invalid and can be contested on those grounds.

Regardless of the reasoning behind the challenge, you will need to be able to show definite evidence before you can start contesting the will.

Prepare For a Legal Battle

Contesting a will can quickly become a bitter and acrimonious legal fight, pitting you against your family or loved ones. In most cases, the challenge fails, and the person pursuing the claim pays costly legal expenses and receives nothing from the estate. At the very least, you can expect to have strained or damaged relationships with your family following the settlement of the case.

Before you begin the process of contesting a will, you should prepare yourself for any and all of these possible outcomes.

If You Are Considering Contesting a Will, Contact the Trusted Family Attorneys at Walker, Hulbert, Gray, and Moore.

Our team can guide you on if you should contest a will and how to proceed. Contact us to set up a consultation today: 478-987-1415.