Probate Litigation: Contesting a Last Will and Testament
The experienced probate litigation lawyers at the Dobson Law Group are committed to ensuring that your rights are protected in the event that probate litigation becomes necessary. We recognize that it will be difficult to think about money and assets while trying to cope with the loss of a loved one or family member. However, it is important to keep in mind that you may find yourself as the beneficiary of a will that is being challenged, or in the alternative in a position where you need to contest a will. It is imperative that you remember that South Carolina law provides a limited amount of time to contest a will, and it is critical to contact our firm promptly to allow us to begin the process of protecting your interests.
There are various grounds for contesting a will in South Carolina. It is important to understand these arguments regardless of which side of the issue you may find yourself. Grounds for contesting a will in South Carolina include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Undue influence and duress: Undue influence and duress are both causes of action that can be considered in determining whether a will should be considered valid. These factors exist primarily when someone is compelled or coerced to execute a will or trust as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, often times by a trusted relative, friend, financial advisor, or health care worker.
2. Lack of testamentary intent or capacity: A person making or changing a will is required to have a certain mental competency in order for the will or change to a will to be valid. A will can be declared void if lack of capacity can be proven. Some important questions to ask include:
a. Did the testator understand the nature of the act he was doing?
b. Did the testator know the nature and character of his property?
c. Did the testator know the natural objects of his bounty?
3. Revocation: South Carolina law allows a testator to revoke his or her will, and therefore revocation can be grounds for contesting a will. A will or any part thereof can be revoked by executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will, either in whole or in part, or by being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator or by another person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction. Therefore, if it can be shown that a will has been revoked by a testator in one of the aforementioned methods, it may be declared invalid.
4. Lack of proper formalities: Proper execution of a will requires that certain formalities be followed. A will can be contested on the grounds that it was not properly drafted, signed or witnessed in accordance with the applicable requirements provided for under South Carolina law.
The Dobson Law Group has established a hard earned legacy in the area of probate litigation, one case at a time. We give each case personalized attention, and will be there to guide you through a difficult time as your attorney, advisor and friend.
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The Dobson Law Group provides legal services to clients in Greenville County and throughout South Carolina including Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenwood, Laurens, Lexington, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, and Union County. We are licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.