Process to Contest a Will

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 in challenging a last will and testament, Contesting a Will

In North Carolina, to contest a will there is the following general process:

1) Caveat filing. This is the complaint to be filed by the attorneys for the caveators or challengers of the will. It’s filed in Superior Court in the county where the will was probated. This has to be filed within 3 years of the time of death/probate of will.

2) Bond paid to the clerk for the Caveat. Not a large bond.

3) Order to suspend estate except for maintenance. The Caveator’s attorney files this to be signed by the Clerk in the Estates division. Keeps the assets of the estate from being distributed prior to the trial.

4) Alignment of the Parties. Serve all the parties. Notice everyone to come and fight or defend the will that’s been probated. Parties line up on either side. Some fail to align.

5) Discovery. This is where information is requested by one party of another

6) Depositions. This is when a person is placed under oath and a court reporter transcribes the questions of the attorney and answers of the party being deposed.

7) Records and lists of witnesses that will testify or be presented as evidence.

8) Motion for Summary Judgment- is there an extremely good reason, with no key facts at issue, that the law can safely rule that the will is good, challenge fails, someone doesn’t have standing, etc.

9) Devisat vel non- trial by jury. Unless settled, this case by law has to be tried in front of a jury. No bench trials.

That is the basics of the process to contest a will in North Carolina.

Kirk Sanders is a will contest attorney in NC. Call him if you need him to defend a will or if you need to contest a last will and testament.


Process to Contest a Will