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3 potential challenges to an estate plan

When an estate plan is read after a person’s passing, certain family members or beneficiaries may decide to challenge that plan. They don’t agree that it should be executed as it has been written.

Not everyone has a right to challenge a will. They need to be someone who was removed from the will but previously would’ve inherited or a direct descendent or family member who would have expected to inherit. And they need to have a valid reason to challenge the plan, not just stating that they don’t like the provisions. Below are three examples of these reasons.

1. Undue influence

First of all, undue influence is when someone else coerces the person to change their estate plan. The plan no longer reflects what that person really wanted because they have been manipulated. Often, the person using undue influence is just trying to get more money or assets for themselves.

2. Mental capacity

A person has to have testamentary capacity in order to write or alter an estate plan. If they make changes while they lack the mental capacity to do so, those changes may not stand in court. This is why it’s important for people to make alterations prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s or another degenerative brain disease.

3. Forgery and fraud

In severe cases, the person challenging the estate plan will claim that it’s a forgery. They think that someone else fraudulently wrote the plan and is presenting it as a legitimate document when the deceased person actually wrote an entirely different plan.

An estate dispute on any of these grounds can be quite complex. Those going through the process in Louisiana need to know what options they have.