Successfully challenging a will in Ohio and throughout the country is difficult because courts work on the assumption that the will conveys the wishes of the testator, or creator, and that person is no longer able to express their wishes in any other way. When a will challenge is successful, it is usually brought by a spouse and is on the grounds that either the testator was unduly influenced by someone else or was too mentally incapacitated to produce a valid will.
A person must be of testamentary capacity to make a valid will. This means the person is over the age of 18 and understands what they are doing. The person must understand the value of their property and who the beneficiaries are. In addition, they can’t be manipulated into creating the will or leaving certain items to certain people.
Another way to challenge a will includes being able to show that the document is a forgery or that there are not sufficient witnesses. In some cases, a will may be found that is newer. A will is valid anywhere that the testator dies as long as it is valid in their resident state.
A person who is creating a will might want to discuss any concerns about the will being challenged with an attorney. For example, if the person wants to disinherit some people, this may need to be specifically mentioned in the will. A person may also be able to reduce the likelihood of challenges by discussing their wishes and their estate plan with their family. This may help eliminate any misunderstandings about a person’s wishes. An attorney may be able to help ensure that the will is accurate in a legal sense. Without an attorney’s assistance, a person might make errors in legal language that could make a will unclear.