Oklahoma Probate Guide

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Navigating Challenges To A Will During The Probate Process: Insights From Skilled And Experienced Edmond, OK, Probate Lawyers

  • By: spk-admin
  • Published: April 2, 2024
Navigating Challenges To A Will During The Probate Process: Insights From Skilled And Experienced Edmond, OK, Probate Lawyers

Having to subject yourself to dealing with the legal world and possibly even appear in court is, if you’re like most people, not something you necessarily look forward to. This is even more the case after the passing of a loved one who was near and dear to you. As unfortunate as it is, the inconvenient reality is that there are various legal matters you simply have to attend to when this happens. In Oklahoma, probate, with few exceptions, is one of them.

We’ve prepared this article, providing you with some insights we’ve gained over the years we’ve spent practicing as leading process of probate lawyers in Edmond, OK. Our estate administration lawyers want this to serve as an aid that can help you alleviate some of the burden you’d otherwise face when facing probate. After a loved one has passed, the last thing you need to be dedicating your attention and emotional energy to is a probate case. We hope the counsel provided here helps alleviate this so you can instead devote more of your time and energy to what truly matters.

Challenges To A Will

Before we dive in deeper, let’s lay a little foundation just to make sure you’re on the same page. There are many misconceptions surrounding probate and wills. Not correcting a faulty understanding you may have of these things won’t do much to help you at all.

Wills are documents that not only express a person’s wishes concerning how their property and assets are to be distributed after their death but also serve to formalize these wishes in a legally recognized way. With them, you can designate beneficiaries that can inherit specific items, assets, or portions of your estate. Wills can also include provisions for the care of minors, appointing guardians, and even instructions for funeral arrangements.

Ideally, wills provide clear instructions regarding distributing your assets according to your desires after your death. But what happens when things aren’t this clear? People can challenge a will. These disputes, commonly referred to as will contests, can occur for several reasons. The most common pertains to the overall validity of the will or specific terms it outlines. Certain criteria strengthen the basis by which challenges can be made and accepted, including:

Lack Of Capacity

If you suspect that the testator of a will wasn’t of sound mind, lacking the mental capacity to truly understand the nature of what it was they communicated in their will, you can challenge it.

Undue Influence

Exerting improper or unethical influence over the testator also justifies challenging a will. Coercion or manipulation to the benefit of himself over the testator’s true wishes or others in the will is strong grounds for contesting the will.

Fraud Or Forgery

Evidence of fraud or forgery at the time of creating a will is a basis for contesting it. This includes things such as outright forging the testator’s signature to altering terms of the will without their knowledge or consent.

Improper Execution

Failure to adhere to the flow and formalities of executing a will serve as basis for contesting it, and even finding it to be outright invalid. Many of these formalities, for instance, having a testator sign their will in the presence of witnesses, are designed to facilitate transparency and openness regarding disbursing property and assets.

And More

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more considerations at play when challenging a will and navigating the probate process in Oklahoma generally. Any major financial transaction like receiving property and assets is generally a taxable event that carries significant ramifications. To steer yourself clear of the many expensive pitfalls that you’ll encounter, you will likely need the assistance of a tax lawyer experienced in estate planning and probate.

As you can likely tell, without a deep understanding of wills and Oklahoma probate law generally, challenging or defending against a challenge to a will can be especially difficult and contentious in light of the loss of a loved one. Seeking counsel, if not having an estate settlement attorney take the reins for you completely and handle the case, is in your best interest.

Contact Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC., today, and we will be happy to empower you with our probate-related material. This material has been designed to impart to you the knowledge you need to manage probate. For exceptionally nuanced and challenging cases, we are more than capable of representing you or referring you to someone we know and trust who can.