Can someone contest your inheritance?

| Aug 5, 2020 | Estate Planning

When your aunt died, you never expected she would leave you her house. After all, she had children of her own. At the funeral, your aunt’s daughter makes it clear that she thinks she should have got the house. She intends to contest the will. Should you worry?

Contesting a will is not easy. It will require time and money. If your cousin does not have those, it may be an empty threat. These are some questions to consider:

  • Is there another will? If your aunt signed an updated will, after the one leaving you the property, that would take precedence.
  • Is the will legitimate? Did you forge the will, or make your aunty sign it at knifepoint? It does not need to have been witnessed if handwritten by your aunt with her signature.
  • Did your aunt know what she was doing? If your aunt did not understand her actions, your cousin could contest the will. She would need to prove your aunt had mental health issues when she signed it.
  • Did you persuade your aunt to change it in your favor? If this is what your cousin suspects, she needs to find evidence to support her claim. She needs to prove you had the opportunity to unduly influence your aunt and that you had devious intentions. Just because you spent time looking after your aunt does not mean you wanted her money.

Seek legal help if you need to defend your inheritance. Having someone contest a will can take the shine off of your good fortune, but, providing there was nothing untoward, your aunt had the right to leave her home to you. You do not need to cede your inheritance just because someone else is not happy.