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Challenging a person's estate planning is not easy

One important goal of making a will is to make sure one's assets are distributed the way he or she intended. People in Oklahoma who take the time to do estate planning often give careful thought to their beneficiaries. Based on family dynamics, it is not always a surprise when one person receives the lion's share and another is left out.

However, there are times when the distribution of assets is a shock, and a person may be convinced that the will does not truly represent the wishes of the person who died. In these cases, a person may decide to contest the will. There are two common reasons why someone would dispute the contents of a will.

The first reason is that the person was not of sound mind when he or she made the will. Perhaps the person was in the late stages of dementia or was taking medication that reduced his or her capacity to think clearly. In such situations, an attorney may look for evidence that the person made the will in a lucid interval. If a doctor examined the person immediately prior to the making of the will, the court may conclude that the person was sound enough in that moment to understand the implications of his or her actions.

Another reason why people contest wills is that they believe one beneficiary had undue influence over the person making the will. A potential beneficiary who demonstrates domineering behavior over the person or refuses to leave the room when terms of the will are discussed may be trying to influence him or her. If the reading of the will discloses an illogical distribution of assets, or if the testator suddenly changed lawyers after years of loyalty, one may have cause to suspect someone influenced the maker of the will.

Challenging a will is seldom easy. The law tends to favor the written will, and the burden of proof is on the person bringing the challenge. People in Oklahoma who feel they have cause to contest a will can get advice and guidance from an attorney who has experience in estate planning. Such an attorney will work to ensure the rightful beneficiaries receive the assets their loved one meant for them to have.

Source:, "Contesting a Will", Nicholas Walsh, Nov. 30, 2016

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