Contesting a will takes a toll on several levels.
Your loved one passed away.
You are heartbroken.
You learn you did not receive an inheritance or at least not what you were expecting.
You are confused.
Something seems fishy.
Should you contest the will?
According to a recent Forbes article titled “5 Things You Should Know About Contesting A Will,” you should weigh the costs and benefits before you act.
What should you know?
Spoiler alert: attorneys cost money.
You will want an experienced estate litigation attorney to present your case.
Although you may find an attorney who will take your case on "contingency" (i.e., accept payment as a cut of your inheritance if you win), most will not.
People want to be paid for the work they do.
Be sure to budget the cost of a professional into your contest.
The process is stressful.
Money arguments are never fun.
They are made worse when relationships are involved.
Chances are there will be harsh words and accusations.
You may have rumors spread about you being an ungrateful money-grubber or worse.
You will likely be questioned by opposing counsel and even by the court.
Consider whether contesting a will is worth the conflict and anxiety.
You may need to act quickly.
You will be involved in the case even if you hire an attorney.
This means you will need to make decisions on strategy.
You may need to file a lawsuit immediately.
On the other hand, your attorney may ask you to request more information before filing a lawsuit.
You can then use the information "discovered" informally to decide how to move forward.
There is a limited window of time for you to contest a will.
Do not delay, if you are serious.
You may be offered a settlement.
After your attorneys have completed their discovery, they will educate you on the weaknesses and strengths of the case.
It is possible a settlement may be presented at this time.
Way are the benefits of a settlement?
If you have a weaker case, it is advisable to take what you know you can get.
A bird in the hand is better than one in the bush, right?
Even if your case is stronger, settling can save you time and money.
Wills contests are emotional.
Winning a will contest does not heal wounds or fix issues.
Your loved one is still gone.
Nothing will change this.
Before you act, be sure you are doing so for the right reasons.
Contesting a will is not for the faint of heart.
Be sure you are up for it before you take the plunge.
If you take a shot at a king, you better make sure you do not miss.
Reference: Forbes (May 21, 2018) “5 Things You Should Know About Contesting A Will”