Challenging a Will

Wills Contest Attorney in South Portland, ME


Normally, when a will goes through probate, things go smoothly and without fail. Most of us don’t even want to entertain the notion that something could go wrong in the probate process, however there are instances wherein wills don’t align with certain agreements and it is in this instance wherein contesting a will becomes the next move.

Several factors have an influence on contesting a will such as age, mental state, the contents of the will, or even fraud. These are the common reasons why a will is challenged and typically anybody can speak up against certain flaws the will may possess. Typically spouses are the most successful challengers of a will. The most typical reason why wills are challenged is because the deceased person can be under undue pressure at the time of the will creation.

A successful contesting of a will of a decedent can result in voiding of its entirety and once a will is voided, the court will continue to distribute the property as though no will existed, which is quite similar to intestacy laws. Going through the legal process of contesting a will is complicated and conflicting, which is why seeking the help of a lawyer is a must.


If you are seeking to contest a will, don’t go through it alone. Seek legal assistance from awills contestattorney who can represent you and explain the contesting process to you. Having aSouth Portland, ME wills attorneymakes a huge difference in achieving the best possible outcome. An attorney can explain estate planning concepts such as probate, estate administration, wills & trusts, and contesting a will.

Can You Challenge A Will Based on Testament Capacity?

Testament capacity refers to the ability to make and understand a will and other estate planning documents. Typically, individuals who are 18 years old and above are already capable of drafting a will but making a will is allowed for minors who served in the military or are married. There is an assumption that adults have testament capacity and when litigation arises challenging an individual’s testament capacity, the basis is usually conditions such as incapacity, dementia, insanity, or under the influence of substances.

Challenging a will based on testament capacity requires you to prove that the testator (creator of the will) did not understand the terms and conditions of the will, namely the extent and value of property, who they are expected to provide for and who the heirs are, as well as how these elements relate in terms of property distribution. If you are seeking to challenge a will based on testament capacity, consult first with a South Portland, ME wills contest attorney in order to determine the best possible course of action to take for your estate plan.

Are Fraudulent Wills Eligible for Contesting?

Another reason why plenty of people contest wills is because the document may be fraudulent in nature. Fraud in wills happen when the testator is being manipulated by another person into appointing the manipulators as the beneficiaries of all the inheritance. Undue influence in this context refers to the inability of the testator to bargain.

What does a will do in Maine?

If the executor is attempting to undertake the provisions of an outdated will, then the newer one will trump over the older will. There are requirements to destroy or void outdated wills in the event that one should change or update their will. Dating wills are absolutely necessary since the court’s interest is to fulfill the testator’s wishes. Should a valid legal will surfaces bearing a date that is more recent than the present one being executed, the probate court will follow the newer will.

State laws have varying rules regarding updating wills so just to be sure, get in touch with a South Portland, ME estate planning attorney to walk you through the entire process of contesting a will and explain the terms of probate law you definitely need to know.

Do Witnesses Play a Role in Contesting a Will?

When writing a will, the testator must sign it in the presence of two adult witnesses. Some states require three, though the bottomline is that the witnesses must be people who aren’t named as  heirs in the will. Having a beneficiary in the will as one of the witnesses will render their gift void. While some states allow handwritten wills that are unwitnessed or holographic wills, these must be signed in the testator’s handwriting and should be dated. The downside of holographic wills is that they are easier to challenge since there are no witnesses and that the court must be convinced of the validity of the testator’s handwriting on the will and that it was created as the testator’s will.

Does State Law Matter?

Wills are valid in any state the testator died in provided it is valid under the state laws where the testator is domiciled or the state they consider their home. Residence plays a huge role in contesting a will since estate planning laws vary from state to state. For the state of Maine, the age of the testator must be 18 years old and above, with a sound mind, and the number of witnesses must be at least two persons. Maine does not recognize nuncupative or oral wills, while holographic wills are valid with the legitimate signature of the testator.

Are you in the midst of contesting a will in the state of Maine? Know your laws and the estate planning process by enlisting the help of a South Portland, ME wills contest attorney. A wills contest attorney will help review the will to be contested and represent you in court, ensuring the most favorable outcome for your situation.

What are the Will’s Provisions?

Most states require that the testator be the individual who created the will and signed it. It also requires that the testator includes at least one substantive clause which includes leaving property to a particular surviving heir, and that the will should appoint a personal representative to handle the estate. This personal representative is responsible for invoking the terms. In other groups, the executor is appointed by the court.

Seek Legal Advice from a Wills Contest Attorney

While 99% of wills go through probate courts without much of an issue, there’s always the small percentage that something could go wrong. If you think that there is something worth contesting in a will, get in touch immediately with a wills contest attorney. Our law-firm has the experience and competence in estate law to make sure that clients like you may avoid additional burdens and disputes brought about by issues on wills and trusts. Contact Jackson & MacNichol Attorneys at Law to schedule an appointment with our reliable estate planning lawyers.


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