In South Carolina, people sometimes dispute the validity of wills and file challenges to them in the probate court. When someone contests a will, he or she must notify all of the interested parties about the will contest so that they can have the opportunity to dispute it and argue for the will to be validated.
Who are interested parties in a will contest?
The interested parties in a will contest include all of the parties named in the will that is being contested and all of the decedent’s surviving family members whether or not they have been named in the will. If there is an earlier will, all of the parties named in that document will also be interested parties who must be notified about the will contest.
What happens if a will is invalidated?
If the court deems that a will is invalid after a will contest in probate litigation, the document will be disregarded. If there is an earlier will, the court and executor will go by that document when determining how the assets should be distributed. if there is not an earlier will, the assets will instead be passed through the probate process under the state’s intestacy laws. This might result in a distribution of assets that does not conform with the wishes of the decedent.
Most will contests are unsuccessful. Courts view wills as representing the wishes of the decedent and generally do not want to interfere with them. However, if someone believes that there are good grounds to contest a will such as coercion or incapacity at the time the will was drafted, he or she might want to speak to a probate attorney for advice on how to handle the situation.