Contesting a will in Nevada
There are certain circumstances in which a will can be invalidated under state law.
A lot is at stake when a loved one passes away. In addition to the emotional toll of grief, there may be land, a residence or a vacation home filled with memories and considered a family treasure. Sometimes personal property has great value – financial, personal or sentimental. An heir may have relied on an inheritance of money and investments to support them going forward.
When a will unexpectedly leaves assets to people or to charity that were not expected, family members may wonder whether the will really directs bequests that the deceased meant to make. For example, was someone surprised to find they had been cut out of the will? Were the bequests unexpectedly unequal among children? Was a portion of the estate left to an unexpected person or charity?
Could there be a legal reason that the will is not valid?
The legal remedy when there are questions about whether a will is legally valid is called a will contest, which is a lawsuit in which an interested party can petition the court to invalidate a will based on any of several reasons. State law governs the procedures and legal standards that apply.
In Nevada, there are several reasons that a will’s validity can be contested, including:
- Lack of competency or capacity to make a will: Did the testator have the mental capacity to understand the legal consequences of the document?
- Duress: Did someone threaten or coerce the testator to make a will with provisions contrary to the testator’s wishes?
- Menace: Did another person cause the testator to fear for their safety if they did not include provisions the person wanted?
- Fraud: Was the will procured by fraud?
- Undue influence: Did someone put so much pressure on the person making the will that the influencer overcame the real intentions of the testator?
- Improper execution: Was the will properly signed and witnessed?
An attorney can advise a family member, heir, beneficiary or other interested party whether potential grounds exist to contest a will. If necessary, the lawyer can conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the drafting and signing of the will to understand whether they support a challenge.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of P. Sterling Kerr in Henderson represent people involved in will contests and other kinds of estate and probate litigation throughout the Henderson and Las Vegas area. They also represent clients in California and Utah.