How Do I Contest a Will in North Carolina?

Posted on Sep 23, 2023 in News

It starts with filing a will caveat pleading in the estate file. Then a special citation will need to be issued to all the interested parties in the estate, whether named in the challenged will, beneficiaries of the prior wills, or intestate beneficiaries.

After that the clerk will transfer the estate file to the Superior Court Trial division. The personal representative of the estate will be ordered to suspend any distributions of assets and only do what is necessary to preserve and protect the estate assets.

After that full blown litigation will commence based on the challenges to the Will.

Who can challenge a Will?

You have to be an interested party – such as a person named in the probated will, a beneficiary named in a prior will, or someone who would inherit intestate (if no will existed).

What are the grounds for challenging a will?

It’s typically based on undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, forgery, or failure to follow testamentary requirements. There are other grounds, but those are the most common. Kirk Sanders has litigated those types of challenges. See more here, including video discussion: What is a Will Caveat?

What happens when a will is contested?

After the will caveat pleading is challenged, the parties go through the discovery process of written interrogatories, request for production of documents, depositions of witnesses, subpoena records before the case either gets settled or is tried before a jury. Make sure you have an attorney who has tried these cases.

What is a deposition?

It’s an examination of a witness by oral questions and answers while the witness is sworn under oath. There will be a court reporter present who will transcribe every word spoken. Afterwards the court reporter will print a copy of the transcript. It’s a method of discovering facts in a litigation case.

Call Estate Litigation Attorney, Kirk Sanders, to discuss your case.


Who is a will contest attorney in NC? Kirk Sanders tries these cases statewide