When Pennsylvania residents die, very few people can contest their will. You might be able to do so if you meet certain qualifications. However, a will contest is a long and complex process that might not benefit you in the end.
Who is allowed to contest a will?
After a loved one dies, you might be shocked by the contents of their will. If they’ve seemingly changed their mind at the last minute or left everything to one person, you might suspect that someone interfered with the estate planning process. However, you need to have legal standing before you can contest the will.
To have legal standing, you must show that you have a lot to lose with the current will. For example, if a parent dies and specifically doesn’t mention you in their will, you have a lot to lose because you would have received a large share of assets otherwise. According to state laws, children inherit most of their parent’s estate if they don’t leave a will behind.
You won’t have legal standing if you wouldn’t have gotten much either way. For example, if you’re a friend of the deceased, you don’t have legal standing because there’s no law that would result in a family friend inheriting a large share of their estate. An estate planning attorney could tell you if you have legal standing or not.
What should you do if you have standing?
If your attorney determines that you have standing, the next step is proving that you have grounds to contest the will. You might have to prove that the will was forged or your loved one was tricked into signing a fake will. You could also prove that someone forced or influenced your loved one to leave them a large share of their estate.