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Can anyone challenge your will if they don’t inherit?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Estate Planning, Heirs & Beneficiaries |

One reason that people will challenge a will or an estate plan is when they discover that they didn’t inherit anything and they hoped that they would. For instance, someone may claim that the will is fraudulent because the individual who passed away would have never left them out of that will. They could also claim that someone else used undue influence to change the will.

But can just anyone make this claim? Do you have to consider all of the people that you are not leaving anything to as you write your estate plan, just to plan for the fact that they may challenge those documents in court?

They must have grounds to challenge

The truth is that the vast majority of people cannot challenge your will. They have to have grounds and be an “interested person,” which means they have some stake in the estate plan and they will suffer financial damages as a result.

For instance, children automatically expect to inherit. If you leave them out of the will, they already have grounds to potentially challenge that will if they do believe it was fraudulent. Biological children expect to inherit, and you can disinherit them, but it’s important to do it officially so they know that it was really intentional.

Outside of blood relatives, the only people who could challenge your estate plan are those who may have been in a previous version of that plan. For instance, your neighbor typically cannot challenge your will. But if you told your neighbor that you had left them $10,000, and then a more recent version of the will eliminated that gift, they may claim that your heirs altered the estate plan to take them out.

Making an estate plan can be complex, so be sure you know what steps to take.