Throughout your life, you have worked hard to acquire certain assets. If you care about what happens to your belongings after you die, drafting a comprehensive will is a good idea. In fact, wills are often an effective way to promote family peace. As you probably know, though, wills do not always end disputes. Occasionally, individuals must contest a will to be certain they receive their fair share.
Wills may be invalid for a variety of reasons. For example, the person writing the will may have failed to adhere to statutory and other requirements. Or, the drafter may not have had the requisite legal capacity to execute a will. In some cases, someone exercises undue influence, calling the validity of the will into question. Regardless of the reason, though, before you decide to challenge a will, you must understand the concept of standing.
If everyone could contest a will, court dockets would likely become extremely crowded. To ensure the legal process proceeds swiftly and efficiently, plaintiffs must prove they have standing. To have the standing to contest a will in Tennessee, one or more of the following must apply:
- If a judge sets the will aside, you would receive a portion of the estate.
- If there are two wills, you benefit from one and not the other.
- If the will is not valid, you would receive assets through Tennessee’s intestacy laws.
As you may suspect, timing is important when contesting a will. Generally, you want to raise objections to a will’s validity as soon as you realize there is a problem. From a legal standpoint, though, you have two years to contest a will. The clock begins to run when the executor admits the will to probate. If you fail to comply with the statute of limitations, you may be out of luck regardless of whether you have legal standing.
If you think there is a problem with a loved one’s will, you may be able to contest it. Because not everyone may challenge a will in Tennessee, though, you must be certain you have standing. If you do, you must act quickly to ensure you receive your fair share.