The movies will have you believe that you can contest a will simply because you dislike the terms, but that is not the case. To contest a will, you must have a valid reason or reasons for doing so. The Balance explores a few of the more common grounds for contesting a will in Ohio.
Every state, Ohio included, has specific laws governing how a testator must sign his or her last will or testament. Some states require a testator to have one to two witnesses who are in the same room at the time of the signing, while others require testators to be in the presence of an attorney. Failure for a testator to comply with state laws is the number one reason bereaved family members contest a will, and it is also the most common reason states render wills invalid.
Another valid reason to contest a will in Ohio is lack of testamentary capacity to sign a will. “Testamentary capacity” means that the testator understood the nature and value of his or her assets at the time of signing the will and was capable of logically deciding who should inherit said assets. Lack of testamentary capacity is often difficult to prove and requires a testimony from a treating physician or mental health care professional.
Fraud is another valid reason to contest a will. For instance, a family member may have presented the deceased with a document and told him or her it was a deed or power of attorney. However, the document may have in fact been a will naming the deceitful family member as the beneficiary of the entire estate.
Finally, undue influence can lead to a will contest. If a family member exerted extreme pressure or put the testator through such severe distress as to influence the testator to succumb to his or her will, the state may deem the will invalid.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.