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Common grounds for will challenges and probate litigation

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2020 | Probate

Estate planning is an important way for a Myrtle Beach family to take stock of its assets and plan for the efficient distribution of wealth across generations. Many estate plans involve tools like wills to assist in the passage of property and money between decedents and beneficiaries. Wills are legal documents that must conform to specific requirements in order to be considered valid.

Problems with wills and other estate planning tools can result in questions and even legal challenges when an estate enters probate. The topics discussed in this post are not comprehensive: other grounds for will challenges exist. No part of this post should be read as legal advice and all legal questions about probate litigation should be directed to estate planning attorneys.

Will requirements in South Carolina

Wills must pass basic validity requirements to be considered enforceable. For example, minors cannot create wills. Additionally, only individuals who are of sound mind can create wills. Other requirements include but are not limited to witness signatures and writing requirements.

Grounds for will challenges

When a will fails in a technical requirement, it may be challenged as invalid. An invalid will is not enforceable. Here are several other grounds on which wills may be claimed to be invalid:

  • Not written
  • Not witnessed
  • Testator was not of sound mind
  • Testator was a minor
  • Will was procured through fraud or forgery
  • More than one valid will exists
  • Will was not a resident of state where executed

Problems with wills can have serious repercussions on the distribution of a decedent’s estate. When a problem arises, it can benefit a family to discuss its options with an estate planning attorney. Legal remedies may help beneficiaries sort out will questions without excessive duration or cost.