How to Challenge a Will or Trust in Indiana

Legal wills and trusts are typically set in stone, but sometimes disputes arise among interested parties, such as named beneficiaries or people who believe they were unfairly excluded from an estate plan. At Webster & Garino LLC, our local estate planning attorneys can help you contest the validity of wills and trusts to protect your interests.

Since 2017, we’ve proudly provided clients in Westfield, Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Zionsville, IN, with efficient estate planning solutions. Contact our litigators today and take advantage of our knowledge and experience with successful trust and will contests.

Understanding Wills & Trusts

Wills and trusts are legal documents that fall under the estate planning umbrella. Both documents allow you to delegate and protect your financial legacy after you pass away. Our estate planning lawyers at Webster & Garino LLC are highly skilled in drafting and interpreting legal wills and trusts in Indiana.

What is a Will?

A will, also called a last will and testament, is a legally binding document that allows you to dictate how your property and assets should be distributed to family members and loved ones who are not relatives upon your death. A typical will names multiple beneficiaries who will inherit specified assets and sometimes identifies a single executor to carry out the instructions outlined in the will.

What is a Trust?

A trust is very similar to a will in that it outlines how your estate should be divided when you’re gone. But unlike a will, a trust allows you to keep your financial affairs private by avoiding the public probate process in court. This can reduce costs and delays. A trust can also allow you to protect assets for minor children and grandchildren.

Process of Contesting a Will or Trust

Creating a legal will or trust is a very detailed process. As a result, once a will or trust is finalized by the State, it isn’t easy to challenge. Indiana has standards in place outlining the steps an interested party must take to question the validity of a will or trust.

Below are a few key steps you will need to take to challenge a will or trust.

First, you must confirm that you possess legal standing to file a trust or will contest. Spouses, relatives, public agencies, and creditors all meet this requirement. But as an interested person, you should consult with one of our probate litigators to ensure your legal standing.

Next, you must file a claim in the appropriate probate court. This will alert the court that the will or trust has been called into question and will get the ball rolling on the rest of the challenge process.

Our will and trust contest lawyers at Webster & Garino LLC can help you navigate this complex process with ease.

Common Reasons to Contest a Will or Trust

Because an estate plan represents a person’s final wishes concerning assets, a court needs a valid legal reason to undo or alter the terms of a will or trust. Our team of compassionate attorneys is here to help you determine what kind of dispute is right for the unique documents in your case.

Common legal reasons to challenge the validity of a will and trust include:

  • Procedural Errors: The document was not signed or notarized in front of a witness.
  • Testamentary Capacity: The testator, or the person creating the will, was not of sound mind.
  • Undue Influence: A person, like a caretaker, used their position of power over the testator to insert their personal desires into the estate plan.
  • Incorrect Information: An estate plan could be challenged if the testator did not understand the value of an estate, know about other heirs, or divided assets irrationally.
  • Multiple Versions: Evidence that a testator revoked a will or trust and made a new one could also be cause for a dispute depending on the circumstances.

If you decide to challenge a will or trust in Indiana under one of these justifications, you should speak with an Indiana probate lawyer on our team as soon as possible. Indiana has strict deadlines on the window of opportunity to make a claim against the estate based on the timing of a person’s death or when you are notified about a will or trust.

The Exception: No Contest Clauses

In July 2018, Indiana added no-contest clauses to its legal code. When added to a will or trust, a no-contest clause does not prevent you from contesting the documents’ terms but could eliminate your ability to receive any part of the estate if you don’t employ effective legal strategies.

At Webster & Garino LLC, we will equip you with the tools to understand Indiana law and estate planning litigation so that you avoid improper execution and reach your desired outcome.

Discuss Your Case With Our Experienced Lawyers Today

Put your trust in the professionals at Webster & Garino LLC. We manage all types of cases related to probate and estate planning in Indiana. We will work hard to explain your options and protect your interests in an estate. Contact us at (317) 680-5763 to schedule your complimentary case review today.