Grounds to contest Wills and Trusts in Arizona
Under Arizona law, certain legal grounds must be established in order to successfully contest a Last Will and Testament or other estate planning documents. These legal grounds include:
- Lack of Capacity: The person who created the Will (called a "testator") may not have had the mental competency to create the document. This is usually established through a medical diagnosis, such as senility, Alzheimer's, or dementia.
- Undue Influence: The testator may have been compelled or coerced by someone else while creating or altering the Will or Trust. Often, the undue influence enters late in the process and upsets a well-established estate plan.
- Lack of Approval: The testator may not have known that the document he or she was creating was intended to serve as a Last Will and Testament.
- Lack of Formalities: In Arizona, a Will or Trust needs to be signed by the testator, as well as witnessed and signed by two unrelated parties. If there is evidence that the document was not properly drafted, signed or witnessed - for example, because one of the signatures was invalid - that could be grounds to take legal action.
- Fraud and Forgery: A Last Will and Testament may have been written or altered by someone other than the testator, or a signature may have been forged. Such claims, if proven, are clear grounds to contest the Will.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty: Someone who serves as a personal representative or trustee has a high fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust. When a trustee or personal representative breaches that duty, there may be grounds for legal action.
- Professional Negligence: Errors made by the attorney who drafted the Will, whether due to incompetence or simple clerical errors, can be grounds to contest the Will.
Simply believing that something is wrong with a Will - or disagreeing with what it says - is not enough. You need specific legal grounds to take action, and you need an experienced probate attorney from our Mesa law firm on your side to investigate and find that information.
Contact a Mesa probate lawyer for help during this critical time
Whether you need to take legal action to contest a Will or respond to action taken by someone else, our Mesa law firm is ready to provide the legal counsel you need. Our Mesa probate attorneys have the experience and resources to handle complex cases, and we're ready to assist. Contact us today for a free consultation.