Laws about estate planning in Indiana regulate the formation of wills and trusts and the process for challenging their terms. Sometimes disputes arise among beneficiaries or those who believe that they were unfairly excluded from an estate plan. To challenge the validity of a will or trust, you must file a claim in the appropriate probate court. Before taking this action, you should confirm that you possess legal standing to contest the will or trust. Spouses, relatives, public agencies, and creditors could meet this requirement, but a consultation with an Indiana probate lawyer can provide clarity about your legal standing.
If you think that you need to challenge a will or trust, you should immediately speak with an Indiana probate lawyer. Indiana law limits your window of opportunity to challenge a Will or make a claim against the estate.
The deadlines for challenging trusts vary. The timing of a settlor’s death or when a trustee notified you about the trust could influence your filing deadline.
Common Reasons to Contest a Will or Trust
Because an estate plan represents a person’s final wishes concerning assets, a court needs a justifiable reason to undo or alter the terms of a will or trust. Procedural errors, like failing to sign or notarize the documents in front of a witness, might provide proof of invalidity. The incapacitation of the person creating the will, known as the testator, could invalidate the terms as well.
The concept of undue influence also comes up when people challenge wills or trusts. Undue influence means that someone inserted personal desires into an estate plan by taking advantage of a position of power over a testator.
Additionally, an estate plan might become vulnerable to challenge if the testator did not understand the value of an estate, know about other heirs, or divided assets irrationally. Evidence that a testator revoked a will and made a new one could also support your cause.
No Contest Clauses
In July 2018, Indiana added the no-contest clause to its legal code. A will or trust with a no-contest clause introduces the risk that your legal challenge could eliminate your ability to receive anything. Although the clause does not prevent you from contesting the terms, its presence may influence your legal strategy.
Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer
At Webster & Garino, 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 interest in the estate. To schedule a complimentary case review with an Indiana lawyer, please contact us at (317) 565-1818.
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