Who can challenge a Will In North Carolina?

Posted on Sep 28, 2020 in News

Who Can Challenge a Will in North Carolina?

Answer: An interested party can contest a Last Will and Testament within three years of the application for probate of the will.

Who is an interested party to challenge a Will?

Answer: A beneficiary under a prior Last Will and Testament or someone who would inherit under NC’s intestacy laws, such as a spouse, child, and children of deceased child. This list is not exhaustive. This is a matter of “standing” so you are a person with a right to bring the will contest case.

Is this the situation you find yourself:

You were a beneficiary under a Last Will & Testament.

You believed you were designated to receive a dead person’s life insurance policy or financial account.

Did the decedent (dead person) lack testamentary capacity  to change or make a will?

Was the decedent improperly influenced to change their will or to change the beneficiary designations?

There is a way to challenge your loss of inheritance. There may be cause to bring a challenge to the validity of the will and/or beneficiary designations.

Or perhaps you are the beneficiary of a Last Will & Testament or account and you are being threatened with litigation from persons claiming to be heirs.

NC Attorney Kirk Sanders handled more than 75 estate and trust litigation cases.

Occasionally, in North Carolina, this firm files the Will Contest (or Will Caveat) litigation to challenge the Last Will and Testament and files a separate lawsuit on life insurance policies and financial accounts, such as 401K, IRA’s, annuities, trusts, brokerage accounts, and bank accounts.

How to Challenge a Will or Challenge Paid on Death Beneficiary Designations?

Per the law, the challenger will have to prove that the testator lacked capacity, was under undue influence of another, was under duress, fraud was committed, or the Last Will and Testament did not meet the testamentary requirements.

The question of questions is the testator’s capacity at the time of creating the will. A Testator could make a valid Last Will & Testament if the testator had a sound mind at the time the will was executed.

Factors and Elements for Undue Influence are discussed in another article by us: https://willcaveat.com/grounds-contesting-will-undue-influence/

Once a Will Caveat is filed, the litigation is removed from the Clerk’s office and transferred to Superior Court. Will Caveat litigation is governed by N.C.G.S. 31-31 et seq.

If you are involved in estate litigation, whether challenging or defending, Call NC Will Contests Attorney Kirk Sanders at 336-768-1515

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