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Should I contest my parent's will?

If you were left out of a parent's estate, it can be an especially crushing blow. Since your mom or dad is now deceased, there's no way for you to ask them why you were slighted in such a way. This frustration can preclude closure and lead to disinherited children mounting will contests against their siblings.

Is it prudent to contest your parent's will? It might be if the estate is sizable. However, some individuals are so angry that they elect to mount expensive will challenges over paltry estates. They wind up spending far more on legal costs than they could ever recover.

What you need to knowYou need to have a basis for a will contest. Simply being left out of a parent's estate does not make you automatically eligible to challenge your parent's intentions. Perhaps your parents set you up financially during their lifetimes. They may have invested in a business for you to run or bought you a house. They might have allocated a sibling's inheritance as the equivalent of what had already been given to you.

If that is not the case, you may have grounds to contest the will under one of the following circumstances:

1. Fraud was involved. This isn't always easy to prove, but you may be able to. An example would be if the testator was misled to believe they were signing something other than a will.

2. Your parent was unduly influenced by an individual. You may be able to prove that another sibling or someone else pressured your parent to alter the will.

3. The will was improperly executed. Wills must be properly executed and conform to all applicable Ohio laws. Errors in the will's form may be grounds for invalidation.

4. Your parent lacked the capacity to execute a legal document. If your parent was incapacitated by dementia, intoxicated or impaired by drugs when the will was executed, it may be challenged.

If one of the above applies, you may have legal grounds to mount a challenge to your parent's will. Whether it will be worth it or not is something you must determine before you proceed.

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