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Can you contest a will if the person is still alive?

If your loved one is still alive and has recently changed their will in a way that you are not happy with, you may be finding yourself looking into contesting it. Wait before you put time and effort into that, though, because you can't contest a will if the individual is still alive. Why? They can change their will at any time.

If you are unhappy about changes to the will, you may be able to contest the will after your loved one's death. At that time, you should be able to bring up past wills and other documents that support your claims, so that you have a better chance of the court agreeing and ruling in your favor.

Who can't challenge a will?

While you may be unhappy with a will, if you are not an heir-at-law or a beneficiary named in another will, the likelihood is that you won't have a case. Minors are also usually unable to contest a will, because they will not be old enough to initiate a legal case. However, a parent or guardian can challenge a will on a minor's behalf if there is the need to do so.

Who can contest a will?

Not everyone can contest a will. Only certain people, those are will be financially and personally affected by the terms of the will, can contest it. These individuals have "standing" and are allowed to move forward with a will contest.

Some of the people who may want to contest a will include:

  • Disinherited heirs
  • Fiduciaries in previous wills
  • Beneficiaries of previous wills

What happens if the will has a no-contest clause?

Sometimes, people put no-contest clauses in their wills. The point of a no-contest clause is to avoid will challenges that change the person's decisions after their death. You may still be able to challenge a will with a no-contest clause, but be aware that you may lose any inheritance that you were left behind if your case is unsuccessful.

In short, if you want to challenge a will that your loved one has put together now, you can't if they are still alive. You will have to wait until they pass away to do so. In the meantime, you can keep copies of past wills, so that you can establish your right to file a will contest if it's necessary to do so after they pass away.

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