LaPorte County Probate Litigation Lawyer - Challenging an Indiana Will
The story is more common than you think. A parent or close relative dies. You remember conversations that you may have had with that relative about their will, and then you learn that you were written out of the will or the will was changed shortly before the loved one's passing. Now, you're wondering if there was any funny business going on and you think you want to challenge the will.
How do you Challenge an Indiana Will?
Indiana has a specific law and procedure for contesting a will. It can be found at IC-29-1-7-17. There are specific rules, time limits and reasons that must be follows:
There is a Strict Time Limit to file the will contest
The time limit to bring the action is 3 months. That's right, you only have three months to challenge the will, if you wait four months, you can no longer challenge the will.
The Will Contest has to be filed in a specific court
You have the file a lawsuit in the same court that is handling the Probate. For instance, if the Probate of the will was filed in LaPorte Superior Court 1 in Michigan City, Indiana. You will have to file a separate lawsuit in LaPorte Superior Court 1 challenging the will.
You have to name all interested parties when contesting a will
When challenging a will. You have to name the executor, administrator or personal representative along with all the potential heirs or beneficiaries as party defendants.
There are pretty much four grounds by which you can challenge the will:
- Incapacity: The testator was not of a sound mind when he or she signed the will.
- Execution of the will: In this allegation, the challenge is to the formalities of signing the will.
- Duress/Fraud: The will was signed under duress or by fraud. Sometimes you will hear the term undue influence.
- Is the catch-all phrase, which says any other "valid objection" to the probate of the will.
The will challenge must to be sworn
If you are going to challenge the will, you will either have to file an affidavit, which is a sworn statement under oath subject to the penalties for perjury or the lawsuit will need to be verified, which is also swearing that the factual allegations are true and correct. This means that you cannot simply file a will contest because you are unhappy about the will, you have to present facts that support your contention that the will was invalid and you have to swear to it.
If you have any questions about the validity of an Indiana Will or you're thinking about contesting a will, call a Michigan City Probate Litigation Lawyer at (219) 690-8997.